New Delhi, Jan 15 : Congress on Wednesday alleged that the Narendra Modi government has violated all norms by awarding the Rs 45,000 crore '75-I submarine project' to Adani Defence Joint Venture (JV). "The Rs 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", AICC communication in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala and party spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill alleged at a press conference.
Talking to mediapersons, the Congress leaders alleged that "Modi government is ignoring the decision of the country's armed forces. The direct way of assessing the decisions of any government is transparency or secrecy. Modi government is doing things with secrecy to favour their friends and capitalism". Mr Surjewala and Mr Shergil said, on April 2019 - ‘Request for Expression of Interest’ was issued to build six Conventional Diesel-Electric Submarines for Indian Navy (Project 75-I) under Strategic Partnership Model and the estimated cost of the project was Rs 45,000 crore.
"An ‘Empowered Committee’ of the Indian Navy was constituted and was headed by Navy’s Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition. It had received five responses from Larsen and Toubro Limited, government owned Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, Reliance Naval and Engineering Limited, Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) and Adani Defence + Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) Joint Venture", the pointed out. The Congress leaders alleged that Adani Defence has ‘zero experience’ of making ships or submarines and it seeks to manufacture submarines based on a clause wherein its experience of setting up and running a power plant is counted.
The leaders said that on examination of manufacturing facilities, financial records and other criteria, ‘Empowered Committee’ of Indian Navy has short listed two entities – Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, and Larsen and Toubro.
"Government of India and Defence Ministry now seek to overrule the ‘Empowered Committee’ of Indian Navy by directing consideration of Adani Defence JV,"the leaders, however, said. They also alleged that "Adani Defence or HSL had not constituted any such SPV up till the last date of submission of Request for EOI i.e. September 11, 2019. Adani Defence or HSL had not got any such SPV approved or scrutinized from Defence Ministry up till the last date of submission of Request for EOI i.e. September 11, 2019". "Adherence to DPP 2016 is compulsory. Even Request for Expression of Interest (EOI) makes adherence to Chapter VII of DPP 2016 mandatory. Defence Ministry is required to mandatorily approve the ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’ (SPV) and scrutinize it thoroughly,"they said.
Pointing out that "Empowered Committee’ of Indian Navy has, rejected the Adani Defence JV putting it out of contention", the Congress leaders asked "Can the Modi government direct that the Adani Defence JV is eligible?" "In fact, Adani Defence JV and HSL had submitted the Request for EOI without even forming a Joint Venture up till the last date of submission i.e.
September 11, 2019. No such SPV comprising of the JV, was also approved or scrutinized by the Defence Ministry", it alleged. They further said that as per DPP 2016, ‘Assessment of Capacity of Ship Building Entities’ requires that ‘Credit Rating’ of every entity bidding for a contract above Rs.1000 crore should be categorised as ‘A’. "The Defence Ministry, however, while issuing the Expression of Interest has decided to dilute this credit rating categorisation to ‘BBB’ for a project valued 45 times higher i.e. Rs.45,000 crore.
The reason for the same is yet to be explained by the Defence Ministry", the Congress leaders said. "Incidentally, Adani Power (Parent Company) has a credit rating of ‘BB+’ and all Adani power subsidiary companies have mostly credit rating of ‘BBB’ with the exception of Adani Power Maharashtra Limited (which has ‘A-’ CARE Credit Rating)", they added. Taking on the Government, the Congress spokespersons said, "let the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister come forward and answer that ‘fairness’ and not ‘foul play’, ‘nationalism’ and not ‘crony capitalism’ will be the yardsticks for decision on India’s prestigious submarine project." (UNI)