Mumbai: The Dharavi redevelopment tender of 2018 was cancelled and a fresh tender was issued last year due to several factors including the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia war that affected financial and economic affairs, claimed the Maharashtra government.
The government also stated that the allegations that it acted arbitrarily to favour the selected bidder (Adani) are "vague and ambiguous". It further said that the old tender and the new one were different and could not be compared.
UAE-based company Seclink petition
The contentions were made by the Maharashtra government in an affidavit filed before the Bombay High Court on Friday in reply to a petition filed by UAE-based company Seclink Technologies Corporation, which had emerged as the highest bidder in the earlier tender with a Rs 7,200 crore bid. The company has challenged the government’s move of cancelling the 2018 tender and issuing a fresh one.
The Gautam Adani Group had bagged the 2022 tender with a bid of Rs 5,069 crore to redevelop an area of 259 hectares.
The affidavit filed by the State Housing Department said the decision was taken to cancel the earlier tender due to several factors. It added that the financial and economic state of affairs in 2019 and in 2022 were “materially” different.
The affidavit read: “The present economic state of affairs is materially affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia-Ukraine war, uncertainty over Rupee-USD rate, interest rate volatility and overall high-risk perception of common investor.”
Hence, the government took a bonafide decision after obtaining legal advice to cancel the tender and float a new tender in public interest.
According to the government, the first tender was issued in November 2018, and bids were opened in March 2019. Later in March itself, an additional 45 acres was made available to the government by the Railways for the redevelopment project, the affidavit said.
It further contended that no contract was signed between the government and Seclink and, hence, company has no legal right. “… No person has a right to do business with the government as a matter of right,” added the affidavit.
Hearing on March 14
Further the affidavit termed the company’s allegations of acrong arbitrarily to favour the selected bidder (Adani) as "vague and ambiguous".
It further contended that in the new tender, the bids were to be submitted afresh and the petitioner could have taken part as there was no question of excluding anyone's participation.
Seclink contended that it had bid Rs 7200 crore, while the highest bid in the second tender (Adani) was Rs 5,069 crore.
The HC will hear Seclink’s petition on March 14.
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