Tech glitch or corruption? GMADA’s e-auction lands in row
The coverage report right down to microseconds (copy with HT) shows that the highest bidder at 2.55 pm, when the site had crashed, was Praveen Kumar of Aggarwal Buidtech.punjab Updated: Oct 14, 2017 09:51 IST
The first e-auction by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) for commercial property in Aerocity held on Wednesday has kicked up a row with allegations from several bidders that a website glitch that held up the process was, in fact, an alibi for favouritism towards the bidder who eventually got a 4-acre site for Rs 76 crore. The minimum price for the site was Rs 70 crore.
While the closure time was 3pm, at 2.55 the website crashed. At 3.24 pm, the process restarted with a text to bidders that closure will be 3.30 pm to compensate for the five minutes lost.
The unsuccessful bidders, who did not want to be named fearing persecution, cited the conditions, that if a bid was received five minutes before closure time, there would be an extension of 15 minutes, and then another 15 minutes if it happened again. In this case, the second extension was not given, they allege.A copy of the guidelines is with HT.
The grouse stems from a glitch. While the closure time was 3pm, at 2.55 the website crashed. At 3.24 pm, the process restarted with a text message to bidders that the closure would now be 3.30 to compensate for the five minutes lost to the crash. Already, heavy bidding was on for the prime land.
“Then, the bidding was extended by auction officers to 3.45 pm without prior information to all bidders. When a certain party — Jubilee Infra Planner LLP — became the highest bidder, the site was closed at 3.45,” alleged abidder.
“When we complained immediately, GMADA officials cited a 15-minute extension. However, guidelines say that we should have got two extensions as heavy bidding was on right until the closure,” alleged a bidder.It must be noted that the final auction detail document says two extensions of 15 minutes each were given.
The coverage report right down to microseconds (copy with HT) shows that the highest bidder at 2.55 pm, when the site had crashed, was Praveen Kumar of Aggarwal Buidtech. After it was restarted at 3.24 and was scheduled to close at 3.30, Piyush Kansal had the highest bid at 3.29 pm. After an extension, Sukhwant Singh of Jubilee Infra won it with a bid of Rs 47,190 per square metre (around Rs 76 crore).
The losing bidders claimed that GMADA could have earned up to Rs 100 crore since intense competition was on.
Sources in the department said the bidders have met senior officials and emailed complaints too. It is further learnt that some officials of the technical wing are “under scanner”.But GMADA chief administrator Ravi Bhagat told HT he had not got any complaints. “As far as I know, no bidder has objected to the process. However, if there is an issue, we are open to correcting it.”