No special treatment given to Ambani's RNEL: Navy Chief

Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba. PTI Photo

Indian Navy has taken punitive action against Reliance Naval and Engineering Limited for its failure to deliver six off-shore patrol vessels, says Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, who denied offering any special treatment to Anil Ambani-led company.

“We have encashed the bank guarantee supplied by the company. It is a punitive action. There was no preferential treatment,” Admiral Lanba said here on Monday at his annual media interaction ahead of the Navy Day.
Asked whether the Navy had given any preferential treatment to Reliance under pressure from the BJP-led NDA government, he denied the charges of facing any pressure to protect the company.
“While the OPV agreement has not yet been cancelled, it is being re-examined,” he said.
 In May 2011, the Navy awarded the Rs 2,974 crore contract to Pipavav to build five offshore patrol vessels. While the first ship was to be delivered in 2015, the private shipyard that was acquired by Reliance in 2015, launched the first two ships in the water only in July 2017.
Almost same time, Goa Shipyard Limited was given another order to manufacture four OPV. The public sector unit delivered all of them in time. The last one was commissioned in August 2014.
In a statement issued in October 2014, Reliance said it was constructing 20 ships of three categories for the defence services — five Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels, 14 fast patrol vessels and a 3000 tonnes training ship for the Indian Coast Guard. Of these, six vessels are expected to be delivered in 2019.
Admiral Lanba said RNEL was undergoing corporate debt restructuring as the company had been taken to the court by its banker, IDBI. The company would not be participating in the planned tender to construct landing platform docks.
In the past, the Navy had taken action against another private shipyard ABG for its failure to deliver the naval contracts in time. It cancelled Rs 1455 crore contracts given to Ahmedabad-based shipyard to construct three cadet training ships.
The NDA government’s relationship with Anil Ambani-led defence manufacturing companies of Reliance is under the scanner at the moment because of the controversy surrounding the Rafale fighter aircraft deal.
Opposition parties and critics of the government alleged that the contract to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from Dassault Aviation was concluded by the Narendra Modi government to favour Reliance, which is the main offset partner for the Rs 59,000 crore aircraft deal.

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No special treatment given to Ambani's RNEL: Navy Chief


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