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Reliance might have influenced Evaluation Committee: Govt

By Staff
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New Delhi, Feb 23 (UNI) The Government today told Delhi High Court that the Sreedharan Committee was constituted to scrutinise bids for the modernisation of airports after allegations were levelled that two of the members of the Evaluation Committee(EC) were close to the Reliance Airport Developers.

Appearing before a division bench of Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice B N Chaturvedi, Additional Solicitor General(ASG) Gopal Subramanium said the Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) had received allegations that ABN Amro Bank and Amarchand Mangaldass, both members of EC, were close to the Reliance Group of Industries and there might be ''some biased opinion''.

However, the government did not charge 'Airplane', the technical evaluator, of any partiality to the Reliance-ASA Consortium. The EC had awarded the highest mark of 44 to the Reliance-ASA for its IDP.

The matter was referred to the Solicitor General and he opined that it should be referred to the Experts Committee comprising Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Managing Director E Sreedharan and Railways Financial Commissiner Shivdasani.

The bench questioned the reasoning of the government to disqualify an organisation who was qualified by the experts? The Sreedharan Committee had downgraded the Relaince from first position to second and placed the GMR-Fraport at the top.

Justifying the constitution of the Sreedharan Committee, Mr Subramanium said Mr Sreedharan had been into development of infrastructure including the Konkan Railways and Delhi Metro for the past two decades.

The Court asked how could a Railways man gather expertise in developing airports? Mr Subamanium said, ''He is a pioneer in developing infrastructure in the country.'' The Sreedharan Committee had rejected the Initial Development Plan (IDP) of the Reliance-ASA as the international partner is from Mexico, which is a developed and OECD country. The prequalification of the tender was that the foreign partner should have the experience of modernisation of airports in developing countries.

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