Pune civic chief in the firing line for PMC’s “systemic failure” in garbage tender cartel case
The CCI, established under the ministry of corporate affairs for the administration, implementation and enforcement of the Competition Act, 2002, has also pointed at “the complicity of certain officials of PMC in uploading this tender.”pune Updated: Oct 11, 2017 17:10 IST
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) which has exposed the presence of a cartel in a ₹14 crore tendering process for thermal garbage plants in the year 2014, has passed strictures against Pune municipal commissioner Kunal Kumar for the ‘systemic failure’ in the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) tendering process.
The CCI, established under the ministry of corporate affairs for the administration, implementation and enforcement of the Competition Act, 2002, has also pointed at “the complicity of certain officials of PMC in uploading this tender.”
It has said that the PMC needs to examine the claims made by the officials involved in this case, namely, Sanjay Atmaram Gawade (assistant municipal commissioner), Ravindra Krishnanath Mulay (branch engineer) and Suresh Jagtap (joint municipal commissioner), head of solid waste management department.
The claim of these officials that they had to telephonically speak frequently with the directors of the Ecoman Enviro Solutions Pvt Ltd for official purposes, needs to be examined, CCI said. The directors in question were Bipin Vijay Salunke and Parimal Salunke (executive director) of the firm Ecoman Enviro Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which won the bid.
The CCI took municipal commissioner Kumar’s statements on oath and raised various questions regarding the tender process and his role. He was asked about senior municipal officers holding multiple telephonic conversations with the participants in the tender process till the date of filing the tenders; about the tender documents being uploaded from the municipal corporation’s IP address and other objectionable practices.
The CCI was not satisfied by the replies given by Kumar said that he “did not address the relevant issues.”
It blamed the PMC of “systemic failure” and said “the PMC and commissioner cannot run away from it though there is no direct involvement of the municipal commissioner in the tender process.”
The investigative report said there is prima facie evidence that there was a meeting of minds among M/s Fortified Security Solutions, M/s Ecoman Enviro Solutions Pvt. Ltd., M/s Sanjay Enterprises and M/s Mahalaxmi Steels in response to tender numbers 34, 35, 44, 62 and 63 of 2014 floated by PMC during December, 2014 to March, 2015 “for inviting the turnkey contract for ‘Design, supply, installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance of municipal organic and inorganic solid waste processing plant(s)’.
The Commission noted that the facts on record indicate that the bidders “had colluded with each other to make Ecoman Enviro Solutions as the winner.”
The CCI has accused the companies of bid rigging and collusive bidding and the possibility that some of the officials of PMC had facilitated the collusion to pre-determine the winner of the bids, “which may be a case of corruption.”
Next hearing: The Competition Commission of India will hold the next hearing on November 16 on its report submitted to the director general. It will, then, decide on action against the concerned persons, Maj Gen (Retd) SCN Jatar, the complainant said.
Verify statements: The CCI report said that the statements given by joint municipal commissioner Suresh Jagtap, assistant municipal commissioner Sanjay Gawade and branch engineer Krishnath Mulay, who were in touch with the contractor, did not match. The municipal corporation needs to examine the veracity of the statements, it said.
Competition Commission Of India
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) was established under the ministry of corporate affairs for the administration, implementation and enforcement of the Competition Act, 2002.
It was constituted in March 2009. The objectives of CCI include: Prevention of practices having adverse effect on competition; promotion and sustenance of competition in markets; protection of consumer interests and to ensure freedom of trade.