Congress' favouritism charge on submarine project

Congress' favouritism charge on submarine project

Congress chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala accused the government of flouting the Defence Procurement Procedure norms in allowing Adani Defence-Hindustan Shipyard Limited (Adani-HSL) to bid for the submarine project. (PTI Photo)

Ahead of key Defence Ministry meeting, Congress on Wednesday levelled accused the Modi government of “unduly favouring” Adani Group's joint venture with Hindustan Shipyard in the award of Rs. 45,000 crore contract to build six diesel-powered submarines.

Addressing a press conference here, Congress chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala accused the government of flouting the Defence Procurement Procedure norms in allowing Adani Defence-Hindustan Shipyard Limited (Adani-HSL) to bid for the submarine project.

“Adani Defence has ‘zero experience’ of making ships or submarines. It seeks to manufacture submarines based on a clause wherein its experience of setting up and running a power plant is counted,” he told reporters here.

Surjewala claimed that the Defence Ministry was set to award the contract to Adani-HSL at a meeting on Friday.

He said five companies – Larsen and Toubro Limited (L&T), Reliance Naval & Engineering, Mazgaon Dock Limited, HSL and Adani-HSL JV -- had responded to the expressions of interest (EoIs) invited by the government for building the submarines.

He claimed that the Empowered Committee of the Indian Navy had shortlisted only two entities – Mazgaon Docks Limited and L&T – as qualified bidders for the project.

The Congress leader said as till the final closure of EoIs on September 11, 2019, there was no official joint venture. On September 28, the companies announced the formation of the joint venture, he said referring to media reports.

“According to rules, the joint venture has to get clearance from the Ministry of Defence. But it had not been taken at the time submitting the EOI,” Surjewala said.

He claimed that the “'credit rating”' had also been lowered to benefit the Adani-HSL joint venture.

“The norms say every entity bidding for a contract above Rs 1,000 crore should be categorised as 'A' but in this case, it has been diluted to 'BBB',” Surjewala alleged.

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