NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked a Congress leader, who has challenged the bidding process for construction of seven sewage treatment plants (STPs) in Mumbai on ground of purported cartelisation, to deposit Rs 5 crore as “anticipatory cost” to test his bona fides.
Irked by decades of neglect and pumping of sewage directly into the sea, a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud had in February come down heavily on Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and had forced it to go for global tender, which was floated on February 18. It had decided to monitor the bidding process and ordered that no forum other than the Supreme Court would entertain challenges to the finalisation of bids.
The STPs are planned at Worli (to treat 500 million litres per day of sewage), Bandra (360 MLD), Malad (454 MLD), Ghatkopar (337 MLD), Dharavi (418 MLD), Bhandup (215 MLD) and Versova (180 MLD).
Congress legal cell head Tushar Kadam had said, “We filed the intervention on three major points. The cost escalated to Rs 26,000 crore from Rs 10,000 crore without rational clarification from the BMC. Even the process of tendering is not transparent. The BMC submitted only the winning contractor’s name in the reply to the SC and omitted names of second or third bidders. There may be a cartelisation in the process.”
However, the bench sought responses from MCGM and the successful bidder in two weeks in the Versova STP project as the L2, Shapoorji Pallonji Group through senior advocate Maninder Singh, alleged that the successful bidder was ineligible as it did not have experience in installing new STPs.