Millennium Post

Allegations juvenile, says ex-transport minister

The Delhi government on Tuesday rejected allegation of any wrong doing in award of contract to run cluster bus services to a company claimed to be owned by liquor baron Ponty Chadha’s brother Hardeep Singh.

Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta on Monday demanded an inquiry into award of the contract to the company and had asked Delhi minister Arvinder Singh Lovely to clarify whether he had any links with the businessman.

‘The allegation is totally baseless and has no substance,’ the Delhi government said in a statement. It said the contract was awarded through an open, transparent and competitive bidding process and those who qualified the technical criteria and quoted the lowest bid were approved for awarding the contract.

AB Grain Spirits was one of the successful bidders among others such as Star Bus, Indraprashta Logistics, Goverdhan Transport Company, Antony Garages, Chadha Papers, Metro Waste Handling in consortium with City Life Line Travels, it said. The AB Grain Spirits Pvt Ltd was said to be run by Hardeep. It had won a contract to run buses under the cluster service in south Delhi. Lovely had rejected the allegations, terming them as ‘juvenile’.

Ponty and Hardeep, who were locked in a property dispute, were killed when both sides opened fire at each other in a south Delhi farmhouse on 17 November. The Delhi Integrated Multimodel Transport System (DIMTS), which oversees running of buses under cluster service, also rejected the allegations.

‘The project has been awarded, not based on any subjective discretion, but through an open, transparent and competitive bidding process that comprised shortlisting of bidders based on stringent qualification criteria and evaluation of price proposals of shortlisted bidders based on lowest financial quote received,’ it said.

The DIMTS said strict performance evaluation was ensured by the companies that won the contract and a penalty of Rs 1.08 crore was imposed on AB Grain Spirits for performance-related issues.

In 2009, the Delhi government had divided nearly 650 bus routes across the city into 17 clusters – each comprising profitable and non-profitable routes and had given each cluster to a private operator.
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