Congress red flags Rs 45,000 cr submarine procurement process
Randeep Singh Surjewala, the Congress spokesperson, alleged that Modi government was putting pressure on the Empowered Committee of the navy to help Adani Defence Joint Venture which has “zero experience of making ships or submarines”.
The Congress party has red-flagged a Rs 45,000 crore submarine procurement process by the Narendra Modi government, saying that it is trying to favour the Adani Defence JV during the process.
The party alleged that the government diluted the credit rating categorisation while issuing the Expression of Interest to make the company eligible for the project.
“The 45,000 crore Submarine Project 75-I is under a cloud of suspicion owing to allegations of favouritism, crony capitalism, violations of ‘Defence Procurement Procedure, 2016’ (DPP-2016), and an alleged overruling of Indian Navy and its ‘Empowered Committee’ by Modi Government,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said while addressing the media on Wednesday.
According to a media report, a bid jointly made by the Adani Defence and public sector unit - Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL) was not shortlisted, saying that “administrative permissions [were] not in place for the joint venture.”
As the per an Economic Times report, the Indian Navy and Ministry of Defence were in a tussle over the bid. It says that the Department of Defence Production, which controls the HSL, asked the navy to consider the joint bid made by the HSL-Adani Defence.
The defence ministry had issued the request for Expression of Interest (EoI) to build six conventional diesel-electric submarines for the Indian Navy in June 2019.
Surjewala claimed that five bids were received for the Rs 45,000 crore submarines project, including one from the Adani Defence JV. Basing his claims on the media reports, Surjewala said that up till the last date of submission of request for the EoI -11th September 2019 – neither Adani Defence nor HSL had constituted any SPV.
Surjewala and Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergil claimed that the Adani Defence has “zero experience in making ships or submarines”.
“On examination of manufacturing facilities, financial records and other criteria, the Empowered Committee of Indian Navy has shortlisted two entities – government-owned, Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Limited and private-venture, Larsen & Toubro,” said the Congress leader.
Surjewala further alleged that the Modi government and the Defence Ministry “now seek to overrule the Empowered Committee of Indian Navy by directing consideration of Adani Defence JV.”
When asked about the basis of this claim, he said the information was based on his “sources”.
The Congress party further alleged that even the credit rating categorisation for such defence projects was diluted to make Adani Defence eligible for the bid. Surjewala said that as per the DPP 2016, for such projects, ‘credit rating’ of every entity bidding for a contract above Rs.1000 crore should be ‘A’.
“Defence Ministry, while issuing the Expression of Interest has decided to dilute this credit rating categorisation to ‘BBB’ for a project valued 45 times higher,” Surjewala said. He said this enabled the Adani Defence to bid for the project.
Shergill and Surjewala questioned whether all these were being done to promote the “financial interests of its crony capitalistic friends”
“Let the Prime Minister and Defence Minister come forward and answer that ‘fairness’ not ‘foul play’, ‘nationalism’, not ‘crony capitalism’ will be the yardsticks for decision on India’s prestigious submarine project,” the Congress spokespersons said.