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Himachal HC asks HRTC to look into lawyer’s complaint on tendering of e-buses

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Published: January 19, 2019 10:51:45 AM

The plea was filed in the backdrop of the RFP document published by the Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) for design, manufacture, supply and commissioning of 50 battery-operated passenger transport vehicles (EV buses) with chargers for operating in and around Shimla.

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The Himachal Pradesh High Court has asked the state road transport corporation to look into a complaint filed by a lawyer, alleging a scam in the tendering process for buying electric buses. A bench comprising Chief Justice Surya Kant and Justice Ajay Mohan Goel said it was satisfied that the petitioner was sponsored by some manufacturer of vehicles, who did not qualify for the bidding process, according to the terms and conditions of the Request for Proposal (RFP) document.

The plea was filed in the backdrop of the RFP document published by the Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) for design, manufacture, supply and commissioning of 50 battery-operated passenger transport vehicles (EV buses) with chargers for operating in and around Shimla.

“On a query, it is admitted by his counsel that the petitioner is not a bidder or competitor for the allocation of the proposed work and thus, he, in our considered view, has no locus standi to file the instant writ petition. “Though we are inclined to dismiss this writ petition on this score alone, nevertheless, the Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) will look into the issues raised by the petitioner in his complaint dated November 13, 2018 (Annexure P-4) with full objectivity,” the bench said. It, however, clarified that the direction would not give any cause of action to the petitioner “to ask for a reasoned order and/or to approach the court on the same cause of action”.

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The high court’s order came on a plea filed by advocate Raghunath Mahabal, seeking constitution of an independent special investigation team of experts for a fair and impartial investigation into the tendering process and “to expose the unfair and illegal acts and book all the persons involved in the crime”.

The petitioner had alleged that changes were made in the terms and conditions of the tendering process to avoid competition and favour certain parties by buying their vehicles at much higher prices. He had also sought a direction restraining the HRTC from awarding the contract of sale of electric buses to the successful bidder.

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