The Gujarat High Court recently asked the state government to file a reply to a PIL alleging corruption in awarding of contracts for development works related to the countrys largest solar power project at Santhalpur in Patan district. A division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi sought the reply by July 15. The public interest litigation, filed by former Congress MLA Farsubhai Goklani, alleges that of Rs 550-crore worth works, due tender process was followed only for the works costing Rs 100 crore, while for the rest, no proper procedure was followed while awarding contracts.
The PIL cites informations collected through the Right to Information Act. Goklani says he had lodged a complaint with the Anti- Corruption Bureau about the poor quality of work due to corruption in the tender process and sought action against the contractors, but received no response. He wants a CBI inquiry or a special investigating team to look into the irregularities. The Government Pleader said that “limited tenders” were (tenders issued to a limited number of suppliers) issued for the projects. The judges expressed surprise, saying that a limited tender could be issued for projects worth lakhs of rupees but for bigger projects it was not the right method.
The bench then asked the Government Pleader to file a reply. The project is said to be the first in Asia with a generation capacity of 500-MW of solar and wind power. 215-MW capacity was commissioned in the first phase. Managing Director of Gujarat Power Corporation Limited, which handles the project, is one of the respondents, along with the state government and the Director of ACB.