Thursday, May 2, 2013

BIDDING ‘TWEAKED’ : Goa highway repair tenders cancelled : Plea Filed In High Court Alleges Fraud

Mumbai: The state government cancelled two tenders, worth Rs 13 crore, awarded recently for road repairs on the Mumbai-Goa highway after a petition filed in the Bombay high court (HC) alleged fraud and nexus in the bidding process.

The state assured the court on Monday that it had decided to invite fresh bids after a division bench made its intention clear that it would pass interim orders in the petition, which alleged that P S Mandpe, chief engineer (national highway), public works department, had tweaked conditions in the bidding to favour the successful bidder.

Manisha Constructions, from Ratnagiri which has been undertaking highway projects for almost three decades and was one of the bidders, moved the HC to expose the alleged nexus between the chief engineer and the winning bidder, Dayanand Pote, also from Ratnagiri. The state had issued tenders in December 2012 for repairs along 26 km in two stretches between Panvel-Mahad and Panjim on the highway.

Advocate Naveen Chomal, the petitioner’s counsel, submitted in court that Mandpe lowered the eligibility criteria, postponed submission dates and bypassed the crucial document scrutiny process, which helped Pote. The petition said Mandpe opened the bid documents (technical and financial) in his office in Navi Mumbai, instead of letting the executive engineer to do
it, as required, in Ratnagiri. The petition challenged Mandpe’s January 31, 2013 order to an executive engineer to allot work to Pote.

The petition also alleged that Pote had submitted forged documents to claim eligibility when it had hardly any experience in undertaking such projects. Senior counsel S G Aney, who appeared for Pote, argued that the documents were “uploaded by mistake’’ and said that since Pote had completed work worth Rs 60 lakh, he should be allowed to complete it “in public interest’’.
Swati Deshpande TNN

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