The Madras High Court today issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government on a petition seeking to quash the tender called for procurement of laptops for distribution to students for 2016-17 under a welfare scheme. Justice M Duraiswamy, before whom the petition filed by ICMC Corporation Limited, Chennai, came up for hearing, issued notice to the special government pleader and posted the matter for filing counter to June 19. Stating that the tender floated by the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT) was against the order of the high court passed on a batch of writ petitions and also in violation of tender conditions and Tamil Nadu Transparency in Tender Rules 2000, the petitioner sought to quash the notification issued for the procurement of 5,00,000 laptops. The Tamil Nadu government is implementing a welfare scheme for the students to promote computer literacy by distributing laptops free of cost. ELCOT, a state-owned company, is the nodal agency for implementing the project. The petitioner company was the successful tenderer in phase-II of the scheme and completed supply of 3,26,000 computers. ELCOT called for Phase III scheme for the supply of 5,65,000 of computers.Only manufacturers of laptops or through consortium partners based in India can directly participate in tender process as per the tender document clause 2, the petitioner submitted.
In such a scenario, two companies – Hewlett-Packard Sales India Private Limited in Chetpet and Lenovo (India) Private Limited in Bengaluru emerged as the successful bidders, the plea claimed. Stating that Hewlett-Packard Sales India Private Limited supplied the computers manufactured by Inventec (Chongqing) Corporation, China and Lenovo (India) Private Limited in Bengaluru supplied the computers manufactured by Wistron Infocomm (Kunshan) co. Limited, China, who are not consortium partners of the above companies, the petitioner alleged that both companies had not manufactured a single laptop in the capacity of manufacturers.
Both the bidders have merely traded the laptops from manufacturing companies in China, the petitioner alleged.
Noting that two companies had provided misleading information even though they did not have a manufacturing facility in India, the petitioner further said it had already filed a writ petition before the high court seeking to declare them (the two above-mentioned firms) as ineligible bidders for phase-IV and V of the scheme.
The court had passed an interim order stating that any decision taken is subject to the result of the writ petition.
The petitioner company prayed the court to stall all further proceedings of the tender notification issued by ELCOT dated November 1, 2016, calling for supply of laptops and to grant an interim stay of the tender notification.
The petitioner also sought for a direction to call for the records pertaining to the tenders already called for and decided by the ELCOT.