Congress alleges scam in Metro Bhavan construction

Mumbai: The Congress has alleged a scam in the tender allotment process for construction of Metro Bhavan by the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA).

Terming it as a tip of the iceberg, the Congress alleged that the terms and conditions were tweaked to help a special company bag this tender, said Sachin Sawant, general secretary of the Maharashtra Congress.

He demanded a high-level inquiry into this tendering. He also demanded retendering of the contract. Along with tweaking the conditions, several other norms laid down by the Central Vigilance Commission have been violated in the tendering, said Sawant.

“The rules of allotting the contracts have not only been tweaked but rewritten entirely. This is a classic example of crony capitalism and exposes the corruption of a government that claims to be transparent,” Sawant told the media at Gandhi Bhavan in Mumbai on Monday.

“Generally, the terms and conditions are amended during the tendering to accommodate a large number of interested parties. But, in this case, the MMRDA has tightened the terms and conditions in such a way only some special company should be eligible by ending any healthy competition,” he added.

Following Changes were made in the original tender:

1. Height of buildings: The original conditions said that a contractor must have a prior experience in building structures that are basement plus 70 metres high.

In a corrigendum on May 31, however, this condition was changed. It was mentioned that the contractor should have built a 100-square metre structure over the past 10 years.

2. Net worth and Working Capital: Another condition originally stated that any contractor’s net worth and working capital should be more than Rs61 crore in the last financial year.

However, in the May 31 corrigendum, this condition was modified. It was mandated the contractor must have a net worth of Rs60 crore for each of the last five consecutive years.

3. Earnest Money Deposit (EMD): The original condition required contractors to deposit Rs5 crore as an earnest money deposit. Of the amount, Rs1 lakh was to be deposited through RTGS/NEFT/credit card/debit Card while the remaining Rs4.99 crore was to be deposited in the form of a bank guarantee.

However, in the corrigendum, the condition was modified and the EMD was changed to Rs9.13 crore. Of this, Rs1 lakh is to be deposited through RTGS/NEFT/credit card/debit card while the remaining Rs9.12 crore is to be provided in the form of a bank guarantee.

An earnest money deposit is a primary condition, tied to the overall value of the contract. Changing this amount implies a change in the value of the contract itself. In this case, the contract itself needs to be retendered.

4. Performance security: The original condition was to deposit 2% of the contract value as performance security. However, with the corrigendum, the deposit amount has been changed to 10% of the contract. It means the original deposit amount of Rs20 crore has now been increased to Rs100 crore.

5. Annual turnover: The original conditions stated that the contractor’s annual turnover should be more than Rs244 crore. However, the amount was changed to Rs250 crore in the last five years.

“The changes introduced through this corrigendum are shocking and are meant to benefit a specific contractor favoured by the state government,” alleged Sawant.

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