PLL Top Management Chooses To Evade Questions Raised On Awarding Single Bid Tender Of Rs. 1147 Crore had raised eight questions to the dubious tender process and received a stereo-typed reply

On September 15, last, carried a story on how Petronet LNG Limited awarded/passed a single tender bid worth Rs. 1147 crores to build two Cyrogenic LNG Storage Tank is Dahej, Gujarat for Petronet LNG LImited to Larsen and Toubro, by technically ousting all other competing companies, though more qualified in this field than L&T. Industry sources point out that the terms and conditions have been made so by the Technical Team of Petronet LNG Limited, that the other major giants including IHI Corporation and Vijay Tanks and Vessels Limited – Consortium and others were not able to participate in the tender process.

In normal course, a tender of such a big nature is made so that the best and biggest players of the particular field are allowed to participate and the best technically and financially qualified, is awarded the tender. But in this case, the top management of Petronet LNG Limited, tailor-made this tender to favour one powerful company of the country and give a royal ignore to the other big players. Very recently, Delhi Government cancelled small tenders related to liquor vends, where there was single bidder and the same were retendered for better participation.

Even legal luminaries, whom spoke to said that the tender process seems to be “vitiated and done with mala fide intentions”.

Industry sources say that in tenders of such high volumes where only a single biddder comes, tender is cancelled and is published later so that there can be maximum participation but in this case, it seems that the top management of Petronet LNG Limited was in undue hurry to favour one big company at the cost of others, obviously, for reasons better known to them ! After all, a what was the extreme urgency or emergency that a tender floated two years back and canceled twice earlier, had to be given in a single tender bid.

Read also : sent an email to Akshay Kumar Singh raising eight pertinent questions related to this tender and the same has been reproduced for the benefit of the viewers of below –

This refers to L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering (LTHE), being awarded the tender from Petronet LNG (PLL), a joint venture company promoted by four leading PSUs viz., ONGC, IOCL, GAIL (India) and BPCL.

It said – is doing a story on L&T being awarded this tender as a single bidder. Here are some questions on which we seek your response.

a) Whether this tender was floated twice earlier and cancelled or not? If yes, on what grounds?

b) What was the immediate hurry of re-tendering when the pre-qualification made it amply clear that only L&T could participate in the process?

c) What terms were laid down in the tender document that IHI and other major players having better experience in this field could not even participate?

d) Who tailor-made this tender document?

e) In the board meeting, who all directors were present ? Please provide names?

f) What was the voting pattern? Who all opposed this single tender bid, kindly specify if any?

g) Whether CMDs of PSUs who are shareholders in PLL and work under strict CVC guidelines – ONGC, IOCL, BPCL and GAIL, did oppose this move citing CVC rules? If any, please share names and their objections.

h) The Chairman of the PLL is the Secretary Petroleum, Government of India. Despite his vast experience and knowledge of CVC guidelines, did he also agree to clear this single tender bid?

I hope that the CMDs of PSUs who are promoters of Petronet LNG Limited as well as Secretary, Petroleum are aware of the CVC guidelines which mentioned below-

The CVC guidelines on single bid can be summarized as follows:

• In general, single bid or tenders are not acceptable in the first instance.

• If there is only one bid even after re-tendering, there is a need for detailed justification to accept the single tenderer or single bid with the approval from the competent authority.

• There should be no negotiations with the bidder at all. However, In cases where a decision is taken to go for re-tendering due to the unreasonableness of the quoted rates, but the requirements are urgent and a re-tender for the entire requirement would delay the availability of the item, thus jeopardizing the essential operations, maintenance and safety, negotiations would be permitted with L-1 bidder(s) or the supply of a bare minimum quantity. The balance quantity should however, be procured expeditiously through a re-tender, following the normal tendering process

Below is the reply Received From Petronet LNG Limited, evading all pertinent questions raised by

Strangely, while the Managing Director of Petronet LNG Limited, Akshay Kumar Singh choose not to reply, instead a wayward and stereo-typed response came from Sanjiban Deb Roy, Chief General Manager & Vice President
(BIS & HR) of Petronet LNG Limited which was evading all pin-pointed questions and said “We refer to your mail on the above subject matter regarding the award of contract of construction of Two LNG storage tanks at Dahej.
We submit that the process has been transparently followed in accordance with the Board approved C & P procedure and no participant bidder or any other stakeholder has ever raised any doubt, or objection or raised any complaint on the process adopted by PLL. Further, it may be noted that PLL is not a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) and threrefore its activities are not amenable to the jurisdiction of Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)”.

Strangely, it has become a practise these days that semi-government companies try to escape with the pretext of not being a Public Sector Undertaking. In case of Petronet LNG Limited, four big Oil PSUs of the country namely Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) are holding 50 percent of shares in PLL (12.5 percent of shares are with each PSU).

Moreover, the Chairman of the comapny is none other than the Petroleum Secretary of the country. Also, the panel which chooses the Managing Director of Petronet LNG Limited comprises of the four CMDs of these Oil PSUs and the Petroleum Secretary, making it amply clear that it is indeed a fully government controlled company. It is indeed a farce that then too, such companies claim that they are not answerable to anyone. Being listed companies, they are fully answerable as all four Oil PSUs are listed in the both NSE and BSE and so is Petronet LNG Limited.

To be continued in Part 3 of the series….

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