New Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) The Adani Group and state-owned Hindustan Shipyard Limited’s joint venture bid to participate in a Rs 45,000 crore submarine project — referred to as Project 75-I — was on Tuesday rejected by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The joint venture bid of Adani Group and Hindustan Shipyard Limited for the Project 75-I programme to build six new diesel-electric submarines was rejected on technical grounds.
According to sources, Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks Ltd (MDL) and Larsen and Turbo (L&T) have been approved as the Indian strategic partners (SP) and will now compete to be chosen for constructing six submarines in India. Whichever company finally wins the bid will be working with five foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM).
European Naval Group and Spanish Navantia are among the foreign shipyards that have been chosen to offer their advanced submarine technology to the selected Indian strategic partner for the project.
The Ministry of Defence landed in controversy last week after the Congress alleged that the joint venture of Adani Defence and Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL) was being favoured by tweaking procurement guidelines to participate in the Rs 45,000 crore submarine project.
During the DAC meeting on Tuesday, their bid was rejected outrightly. This was the first meeting of the DAC in 2020 and the first after the appointment of the first ever Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat.
The Congress had alleged that by making changes in the procurement rules, Adani Defence with zero experience in submarine manufacturing, along with HSL, was being allowed to participate in the Rs 45,000 crore submarine project.
The bid is for a contract under which an Indian shipyard will be chosen to manufacture six conventional submarines in collaboration with foreign partners.
Last week, the Congress had asked the government whether it was trying “to favour the Adani Defence JV” in the submarine project “in violation of the defence procurement procedures” and “by overruling” the Navy’s high-powered committee which “found the firm ineligible” for the deal.
At a presser in Delhi last week, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had said that the Narendra Modi government and the Prime Minister’s Office overruled suggestions made by the empowered committee, constituted by the Indian Navy, although the deal has not been finalised yet.
He said that an empowered committee of the Indian Navy headed by Navy’s Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition rejected Adani’s bid to manufacture submarines because his company was not found to be eligible.
However, by overruling the decision made by the empowered committee, the Modi government allowed the Adani Defence JV to take part in the project, he had alleged.
Adani’s company sought to manufacture submarines based on a clause wherein its experience of setting up and running a power plant is counted, which is in complete violation of the procedure, the Congress leader had alleged.