Investigate PMC’s action regarding tenders of solid waste treatment plants, orders CCI appellate authority

Investigate PMC’s action regarding tenders of solid waste treatment plants, orders CCI appellate authority

Investigate PMC’s action regarding tenders of solid waste treatment plants, orders CCI appellate authority

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By: Pune Pulse

October 3, 2023

Pune: Nagrik Chetna Manch, a non-political organization in Pune, had filed an appeal with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) regarding the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) action regarding 5 tenders on design, installation and management of solid waste treatment plants.

As per information shared by Qaneez Sukhrani, a Pune citizen activist, it was, without doubt, clear that PMC was rushing for a cover-up after the matter was exposed in the matter of 5 tenders opened by PMC in 2014. Having stated this, the appellate authority of the CCI has ordered the Directorate General of Police, Anti-Corruption Division of Maharashtra to investigate the role undertaken by the PMC in the five tenders. Also, the appellate authority has ordered that a FIR be filed, if any cognizable crime is proven to have been committed during such investigation.

Notably, the contract was awarded for ‘Design, Supply, Installation, Commissioning, Operation and Maintenance’ of organic and inorganic Solid Waste Treatment Plant. In the year 2014, the PMC invited five tenders for the design, installation and management of solid waste treatment plants. Alleging that the submission of tenders was connived through the computer-sourced scam, a petition was filed in the CCI by Nagrik Chetna Manch through former president Maj. Gen. SCN Jatar.” 

“After a thorough inquiry, it was concluded that the 6 tendering companies colluded during the process to favour only three companies. All 6 companies were fined by the CCI for an amount totalling around six and a half crore rupees. These 6 companies filed a counter-petition with the appellate authority of the CCI to reduce the amount by pleading not guilty. The petitions were sent back to the CCI asking the commission to give sufficient opportunity to the complainants to reconsider it.”

The CCI had named PMC and the concerned officers for failing to find collusion in its tender bid process. The commission also said that it was clear from the investigation that the Pune Municipal Corporation and its officers (who are listed by name and designation in the hierarchy of the checklist of scrutiny of tenders) did not take due care while scrutinizing the documents. Many factors like similar IP address, same owner/director, same office address, consecutive serial number of draft etc. were clear indications of collusion. Yet the Municipal Corporation did not consider them and deliberately ignored these aspects while determining the eligibility of the tenderers.  

For tenders related to seven solid waste projects at various locations including Kharadi, Dhole Patil Road and Peshwa Park worth about Rs 14 crore, contractors and officials had several phone conversations and tender documents were uploaded through the municipality’s computer. A total fine of around Rs 6.25 crore was imposed and all the parties were directed to deposit the fine amount within 60 days from the date of order.

The appellate authority of the CCI has ordered the Directorate General of Police, Anti-Corruption Division of Maharashtra to investigate the role taken by the PMC in five tenders.

Shreyas Vange