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Bid rigging cartel at work in Pune’s 24x7 water scheme, says opposition

Opposition leaders charged that the bids filed were around 26 % above the estimated cost of the tenders

pune Updated: Aug 05, 2017 14:29 IST
Abhay Khairnar
Abhay Khairnar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Bid rigging,water supply scheme,24x7
Pune Municipal Corporation commissioner Kunal Kumar claims to have cancelled tenders to 24x7 water supply scheme to gain from cost reduction due to GST. (Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

Although the Pune municipal commissioner Kunal Kumar has claimed that he has cancelled the Rs3,300 crore tenders to gain from cost reduction due to GST, opposition parties and some BJP leaders have alleged bid rigging at work through a cartel.

Congress leader Arvind Shinde, NCP leader Chetan Tupe and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Bhosale said that the municipal administration framed the terms and condition for the 24x7 water scheme project in such way that only few companies could be qualified for submission.

Prominent bidders for the project included L&T, Suez Environment India Private Limited and Vishvaraj Infrastructure Limited.

Opposition leaders charged that the bids filed were around 26 % above the estimated cost of the tenders.

Shinde said that even the CBI had written to the municipal corporation raising doubts about the existence of a cartel in the tendering process.

He said that the BJP and the municipal commissioner Kunal Kumar were keen to approve the tenders received but as the CBI’s letter got exposed and opposition parties began raising a hue and cry, the ruling party decided to scrap the existing tender process and call fresh tender.

BJP MP Sanjay Kakade, who also objected to the tender process, told journalists that there was no relation between GST and the cancellation of the tender. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis directed the scrapping of the tenders as it was above the estimated cost.

In a corrective step, Kunal Kumar said that while calling for fresh tenders, “terms and conditions would be framed in such a way that more players participate in the tendering process and it becomes more competitive.”

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Bhosale blamed BJP and said that while the party was claiming transparency, it had remained silent over the last few days when the media and opposition parties raised an alarm above the inflated tenders. “It was at the last moment that they decided to cancel it while knowing the facts all along,” he said.

First Published: Aug 05, 2017 14:27 IST