Govt sits on 'faulty' tender for high-security number plates

Firms linked to man charge-sheeted by CBI and debarred by Sebi bid for it

The State government is sitting on a faulty tender process since 2013 for implementation of the High Security Registration Plate (HSRP) scheme.

Documents available with Deccan Herald show that only two companies had taken part in the “incomplete” tender process. Both of them are linked to Vivek Nagpal, who was charge-sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and restrained by the Securities Exchange Board of India (Sebi) from accessing the securities market for five years.

The tender notification was published in March 2013. Even before biddings were filed, five corrigenda with several amendments to the notification were issued between May 10 and May 30. The corrigenda were aimed at favouring one company, Rosmerta Technologies Ltd. When the financial bids were opened, Rosmerta emerged as L-1. Linkpoint Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, the only other company to take part in the bidding, emerged as L-2.

A close look at these two companies reveals that directors of Rosmerta — Pankaj Madan and Sandeep Malik — are also directors of a company named KKH Technologies Pvt Ltd, in which 100 per cent shares are held by Nagpal’s family. Documents also show that Nagpal had represented Linkpoint at a meeting at the Madhya Pradesh secretariat in April 2014.

With no competitive biddings, the tender process was in clear violation of the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act, 1999. Two companies, which could not even participate in the tender process because of amendments that suited Rosmerta, have filed a writ petition before the High Court.

But instead of cancelling the tender process, the Transport Department is pointing at the pending writ petition, though other states have either dismissed or cancelled the tender process for having companies linked to Nagpal in the bidding.

Both Rosmerta and Linkpoint face several complaints from eight states where they were awarded contracts. Madhya Pradesh has already terminated its contract while Delhi has filed an affidavit against the company in the Supreme Court and is on the verge of cancelling its contract. The Chhattisgarh government has also rejected a bid made by Rosmerta.

Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy said the proposal to cancel the tender process had to pass through legal opinion. “My officials have told me that there is a Supreme Court judgment in this regard. I have asked them to take legal opinion on cancelling the tender process and start it afresh. We will take a decision soon,” he said.                                                                                       

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