Cong raises questions over Dharavi project rebidding, asks if tender conditions changed to benefit Adani
The Gautam Adani-led group has dismissed the charges as lies, and said they comply with all laws and disclosure requirements
The Congress on Tuesday alleged that the Maharashtra government's Dharavi project rebidding "deliberately excluded" the previous winner, and asked if the tender conditions were changed to help Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "favourite business group" Adani.
The opposition led by the Congress has been seeking a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe after the Hindenburg Research made a litany of allegations against the Adani Group, including fraudulent transactions and share-price manipulation.
The Gautam Adani-led group has dismissed the charges as lies, and said they comply with all laws and disclosure requirements.
In a statement, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said that as part of the party's 'Hum Adani ke Hain Kaun (HAHK)' series in February it had asked Modi to explain the change in bid conditions that excluded the previous winner of a tender to redevelop Mumbai’s Dharavi area and "allowed the Adani Group to win a fresh tender with a much lower bid".
Citing news reports, Ramesh said they have "exposed" in considerable detail how the process was manipulated to help the Adanis.
"The Dubai-based Seclink Technology Corporation emerged as the highest bidder with a bid of Rs 7,200 crore in the original November 2018 tender, outbidding its competitor Adani Infrastructure. That tender was cancelled in November 2020 because of issues related to the transfer of associated railway land," Ramesh said.
A fresh tender with new conditions was issued in October 2022 by the Maharashtra Urban Development Ministry, which came directly under Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, he said.
The Adani Group won this with a bid of Rs 5,069 crore, lower than the original winning bid by Rs 2,131 crore, he claimed.
"The changes in conditions included an increase in the realty experience of the financial partner, which prevented Seclink from rebidding, and an increase in the net worth of the bidder from Rs 10,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore which restricted the number of bidders. The winner was permitted to pay its bid in installments rather than as a one-time payment as originally specified, which helped the cash-strapped Adani Group meet its payment obligations," Ramesh alleged.
The deadlines for slum redevelopment were extended and penalty for further delay was capped at Rs 2 crore per year, he said.
"Did PM Modi force the BJP-supported Maharashtra government to change the tender conditions so as to exclude the original winner and to once again help his 'favourite' business group? Will even slum-dwellers not be spared by the Modani cash machine," Ramesh asked.
Sharing his statement on Twitter, Ramesh said, "Skeletons keep tumbling out of the Modani cupboard. The Shinde government's Dharavi project rebidding deliberately excluded the previous winner and made it easier for the cash-strapped Adani Group to make payments. Bingo! For Modani, no one is spared."