Thursday, June 17, 2021

Maha govt delaying airport privatization case: Singhvi

Nagpur: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court on Wednesday directed Maharashtra government to inform it about Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar international airport’s privatization plans.

The directive came after senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the petitioners along with Charuhas Dharmadhikari, informed the bench that Mihan India Limited (MIL), state government agency operating Nagpur airport, has appointed Deloitte India as new consultant for the airport’s privatization.

While listing the plea for likely final hearing on July 1, a division bench comprising Justice Sunil Shukre and Justice Anil Kilor asked the state to submit its reply in advance so that its copies could be supplied to the petitioners — GMR Airports Limited and GMR Nagpur International Airport Limited — along with other respondents.

The petitioners have prayed for quashing MIL’s letter issued to them on March 19, 2020, annulling the airport bidding process without awarding the contract.

Stressing on admitting the plea for final hearing, Singhvi cited TOI report of June 7 contending that the government has failed to file its reply to the HC notice for over a year, since the case was first heard on May 29, 2020.

Arguing that the case should be heard on priority, as MIL has already appointed an agency for airport privatization process, he charged the government with delaying the hearing by seeking more time.

The petitioners contended that after acceptance of their bid on March 7, 2019, the contract has already been effected. However, MIL asked them to increase revenue sharing percentage, which they were not legally required to do so. When they increased it by almost three times, the MIL arbitrarily cancelled the bid without assigning any reason, notice or opportunity.

17/06/21 Vaibhav Ganjapure/Times of India

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