Nagpur: MIHAN India Ltd on Friday informed the Bombay High Court that it had never issued a letter of award to GMR Airports Ltd for upgradation of the international airport at Nagpur and had stated that the final decision depended on the Centre”s approval.
MIHAN, a joint venture of Maharashtra Airport Development Company and Airports Authority of India, filed its affidavit before the Nagpur bench in response to a petition filed by GMR Airports, challenging the cancellation of the bidding process for development and management of the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport.
GMR Airports in its plea said it was awarded the project by way of a letter of award on March 7, 2019 and hence, annulling the tender in a letter dated March 19, 2020 was “unjust, arbitrary and illegal”.
However, MIHAN claimed that the communication sent to the petitioner on March 7 was only a bid acceptance letter and not a letter of award.
MIHAN said the letter clearly stated that the acceptance of the bid was conditional and required approval from the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation.
As per the affidavit, the state government in December 2017 had set up a Project Monitoring and Implementation Committee and in September 2018, it had received bids for share of gross revenue from Consortium of GVK Airport Developers Ltd with Mumbai International Airport Ltd and GMR Airports.
“Though the bid for share of gross revenue from the petitioner was the highest with 5.76 per cent, it was still financially very low and detrimental to the public exchequer,” the affidavit said, adding GMR was asked to reconsider the revenue share percentage and provide a revised quote.
GMR then increased the bid from 5.76 per cent to 14.49 per cent.
“Following this, by a communication dated March 7, MIHAN only communicated acceptance of the revised bid for purpose of further consideration,” the affidavit said.
It clarified that the communication clearly stated that the acceptance of the bid was subject to approval from the Centre.
MIHAN further said the Ministry of Civil Aviation had expressed its dissatisfaction on the revenue share offered by the petitioner and questioned its financial viability, considering the present revenue being generated by the Nagpur Airport.
“MIHAN is contemplating floating a tender wherein the financial model will be different from the one proposed in the first tender, which now stands cancelled,” the affidavit said.
It also refuted allegations that the decision to cancel the tender was politically motivated and said the decision of re-tendering was taken on October 14, 2019, which is before change in the government on November 28.
The Nagpur bench of HC on Friday posted the matter for further hearing after four weeks.