Football players smell a rat in tender for staidum reconstruction

Football players smell  a rat in tender for staidum reconstruction
Social activists and former football players have alleged irregularities in the tender for the reconstruction of the Bangalore Football Stadium.

T J Abraham of the Anti-Graft and Environmental Forum and Fifa referee Maheshwar Balu have written to Bengaluru in-charge Minister K J George seeking cancellation of the tender allotted to a consortium of Ozone Group Pvt Ltd and East China Architectural Design and Research Institute Co Ltd (ECADI), a China-based company.

According to Abraham, only two other consortia took part in the tender process, JSW-Embassy, which had technical flaws and was eventually dropped, and Tuscan Consultants and Developers Pvt Ltd-Hines India Real Estate Pvt Ltd.

“We suspect a criminal conspiracy to manipulate procedures to appropriate 56,561 square metres of prime land held on a 99-year lease by the Bangalore Football Association. The reason is both Ozone Group and Tuscan are represented by S Vasudevan and Priya Vasudevan and operate from the same address off Richmond Road. While Ozone-ECADI bid at Rs 675 crore, Tuscan-Hines’ bid was Rs 525 crore. The Karnataka State Football Association (KSFA) awarded the tender to Ozone Group in July 2015,” Abraham said.

During the tender process, both Ozone Group and Tuscan had no legal agreement from their foreign partners, Abraham said. “The entire tender process appears to be a conspiracy to favour a single company and ultimately use the valuable public property in the name of re-construction. One of the prerequisites of the tender notification was that the company should have a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore in the last three financial years. Neither Ozone Group nor Tuscan have this qualification. Now, they say their foreign partners have the qualification. The stadium is reportedly being reconstructed for the 2017 Fifa Under-17 World Cup. However, cities in six states have already been chosen for these matches. Though we wrote to City in-charge Minister K J George on December 21, 2015, he forwarded it to the BBMP only on January 20, 2016,” Abraham said, adding that they have sought a CID probe into the entire tender process.

‘Association not involved’
Meanwhile, KSFA president A R Khaleel said the association was not involved in any wrongdoing.

“It’s all wrong information. Vested interests are creating these problems. The papers are with the State government and we are waiting to hear from them. We have not taken a single rupee from anybody. If the government finds any irregularities in the tender process, we will cancel it,” he said.

Ruling out Bengaluru’s chances of hosting the Fifa Under-17 World Cup, the KSFA chief said the association was more keen on providing the city with quality sports infrastructure. “This has nothing to do with the Under-17 World Cup,” he added.
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