LOA Vol 36 - Issue - 02 - 15 Oct 2012
By Zubair Ahmed
With new revelations on the whopping Irrigation scam unraveling in Maharashtra, the connections and links of Soma Enterprises with the NCP-Congress combine has a thread ending up in Andaman and Nicobar Islands too.
Soma Enterprises, which surprisingly won the bid for the Bharatpur Beach property in Neil Island too has many interesting linkages which points finger towards the long tenure of the incumbent Lieutenant Governor, Bhopinder Singh.
according to news reports, all the tenders were in excess of 10 per cent above
the estimated costs. Government rules clearly stipulate that any tender quoting
5 per cent above the estimated costs needs the approval of Secretary of
Finance, Planning and Water Resources. To circumvent that, the minister revised
the original estimates post the bids. The clearances were given simply on the
signatures of Ajit Pawar and Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation
Executive Director DP Shirkhe.
This is the same modus operandi used by the Lieutenant Governor in the
case too – of changing the
original estimates post the bids. Despite many objections raised by Vivek Rae,
then Chief Secretary, he forced the Administration to offer the land on a
platter to Soma Enterprises for a meager Rs. 25 Lakhs per annum, by retrospectively
reducing the minimum acceptable benchmark price to qualify Soma Enterprises low
bid. This is the same Soma Enterprises where the same Avinash
Bhosale was the promoter, a builder from Pune known to be close to the Pawar
family. It was difficult to substantiate the motive of the whole deal. However,
it was alleged that in exchange, the Lieutenant Governor had got an extension of tenure, unprecedented
in the history of the Neil Island Islands. Certainly the fact that
the bid process coincided with the end of his initial tenure may have raised
such doubts in peole’s minds.
Light of Andamans had broken the
story (Beach Properties: Andaman for
Issue 14, 30 September 2011. To read the complete story, click here: http://lightofandamans. Sale blogspot.in/2011/10/beach- properties-andaman-for-sale. html
In the case of
right connections with an obliging Administrator had worked in favour of Soma
Enterprise to grab the deal dodging all laws in the rulebook. Neil Island
It is also interesting to note that Soma Enterprise was a novice with no experience at all in the hospitality and tourism sector. No representative of Soma Enterprises’ bid partner, whose experience was shown to meet technical qualification criteria, had ever been seen during or after the bid process.
Why the Administrator, sidelining his own Administration went ahead and aggressively advocated to accept the bid of Soma Enterprises is not a puzzle anymore.