The Congress has alleged favouritism by the government towards the Adani Defence's joint venture with Hindustan Shipyard in the award of the Rs 45,000 crore contract for building six diesel-powered submarines, despite the company having no sectoral experience.
Terming it an example of crony capitalism, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “The government is flouting norms and the defence procurement procedure 2016 (DPP-2016) in awarding the contract to the Adani-HSL joint venture”.
“The Submarine Project 75-I is under a cloud of suspicion owing to allegations of favouritism, crony capitalism, violations of the DPP-2016 and an alleged over-ruling of Indian Navy and its empowered committee by the Narendra Modi government,” said Surjewala.
The Congress said five companies — L&T, Reliance Naval & Engineering the government-controlled Mazgaon Dock Shipbuilders, HSL and Adani-HSL JV — replied to the expressions of interest (EoIs) invited by the government for building the submarines.
“The empowered committee of the Navy, whose head is the controller of warship acquisition, short-listed L&T and Mazgaon Dock Shipbuilders, but the government is pressurising it to include the Adani-HSL JV. The meeting for the same is on Friday,” Surjewala alleged.
Alleging that the Adanis have zero experience and have flouted the project norms, the Congress leader said as, till the final closure of EoIs on September 11, 2019, there was no official joint venture. On September 28, the companies announced the formation of the joint venture, he said referring to media reports.
“According to rules, the joint venture has to get clearance from the Ministry of Defence. But it had not been taken at the time submitting the EOI. The ‘credit rating’ has also been lowered to benefit the Adani JV. The norms say every entity bidding for a contract above Rs 1,000 crore should be categorised as ‘A’ but in this case, it has been diluted to ‘BBB’,” alleged Jaiveer Shergill, Congress spokesperson, citing an HSL press statement.
“This is apparent from a press conference/statement by HSL Managing Director Admiral L.V. Sarat Babu on September 28, where he categorically said the HSL is in the process of forming a joint venture with Adani Defence and the HSL is seeking permission from the government for the same,” Shergill said.
The reported decision of the ‘empowered committee’ of the Navy putting the so-called Adani Defence-HSL out of contention and consideration appeared to be prima facie correct, he said. “Why is then the Modi government seeking to overrule the Navy,” he asked. (IANS)