Mistry family withdraws letters alleging irregularities in Tata winning Parliament bid

In a letter to the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), the Shapoorji Pallonji Group said it will not pursue the matter any further.
Ratan Tata and Cyrus Mistry
Ratan Tata and Cyrus Mistry
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The Shapoorji Pallonji (SP) Group has withdrawn letters alleging irregularities and conflict of interest in Tata Projects' winning bid to construct the new Parliament building after the government department concerned asserted that there were no wrongdoings in the process, sources said.

In a letter to the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), the SP Group said it will not pursue the matter any further.

"...we appreciate that your good office has undertaken a detailed internal review and thoroughly discussed and evaluated all the issues and concerns," a source said quoting the letter sent to the Executive Engineer Central Vista Project Division-1, CPWD.

In the letter, SP Group further said, "We also appreciate your confirmation that the entire bidding process was carried out impartially in a very fair and transparent manner and that there exists no conflict of interest between TCE (Tata Consulting Engineers) and TPL (Tata Projects Ltd)."

Earlier in September, SP had sent two letters to CPWD alleging that the participation of both TPL and TCE in the process was a violation of the Central Vigilance Commission rules.

Moreover, it had also alleged that the pre-qualification bid criteria was tweaked so as to make it possible for TPL to take part in the bidding process.

"Our earlier communication of 10th and 17th September 2020 was just to understand the limited issue if at all there exists even a smallest probable conflict of interest in the bidding process which is resolved," the letter added.

SP Group further said, "Based on your aforesaid justification and clarification, we shall not pursue the matter any further."

Comments from SP Group could not be immediately obtained.

In September this year, TPL won the bid to construct a new Parliament building at a cost of Rs 861.90 crore ahead of L&T Ltd which had submitted a bid of Rs 865 crore.

Out of seven companies shortlisted, only three  -- Tata Projects, L&T and SP Group -- were selected for the final round of bidding.

According to sources, SP Group did not participate in the final tendering process.

The new Parliament building will be constructed close to the existing one under the Central Vista redevelopment project, and it is expected to be completed in 21 months. As per CPWD, the new building will come up at plot number 118 of the Parliament House Estate and the existing Parliament building will continue to function during the entire period of execution of the project.

In its ongoing battle with the Tatas, last month the SP Group, the largest minority shareholder with 18.37 per cent stake in Tata Sons, said it was “time to separate from Tata” to end a relationship that has spanned over 70 years.

Tata Sons is the holding company of the over USD 100 billion conglomerate, Tata Group. It had objected to SP Group's plans to raise funds by pledging shares of Tata Sons.

The Mistry family, however had stated that it was "in the midst of raising funds against the security of their personal assets to meet the crisis arising from the global pandemic" and SP Group had alleged that Tata Sons "amplified its institutional efforts to suppress and inflict irreparable harm on the SP Group, in the midst of a global crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic". 

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