Mumbai News

UAE-based bidder moves HC against fresh tender for Dharavi project – Hindustan Times

Seclink Technologies Corporation (SCT), which is based out of United Arab Emirates (UAE), has moved the Bombay high court challenging the state government’s decision to issue a fresh tender for Dharavi redevelopment in October. The company, which had made a successful bid for the 28,572-crore project in 2019, has contended that this was an attempt to keep them out of the race to favour the bidder of their choice.

The court has directed the state government to file its reply before January 12, next year.

After its bid was cancelled by the state, SCT had in November 2020 filed a petition in the HC seeking damages to the tune of 10,000 crore. It had also sought directions to the state government to reinstate it as the highest bidder and issue it the letter of award.

On November 14, the company sought permission of the HC to amend the petition and include a challenge to the fresh tender.

A division bench of acting chief justice S V Gangapurwala and justice S G Chapalgaonkar was informed on Thursday that the petition had been amended to challenge the government resolution dated September 28 for issuance of a fresh tender. The court accepted it and asked the state to respond to the amended portions before January 12.

In February 2019, STC emerged as the highest bidder to transform India’s largest slum pocket outbidding Adani Infrastructure and Developers Private Limited. STC had quoted 7,200 crore while Adani had bid at 4,539 crore.

STC’s problem began when the then Devendra Fadnavis-led government decided to use railway land near Dharavi for rehabilitation of slum dwellers and to acquire it by paying 800 crore to the railways. The state sought the advocate general’s (AG) opinion as the railway land was an added component and as such it changed the project specifications. Then AG Ashutosh Kumbhakoni suggested that fresh bids be called for, as the costs of the railway land and rehabilitation were added later and not incorporated in the original tender document.

After the change in government, the AG’s opinion was accepted by then chief minister Uddhav Thackeray who cancelled the tender and initiated the process of inviting bids again. However, the fresh tender was issued on October 1 after the chief minister Eknath Shinde-led cabinet passed a resolution to this effect.