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Answer plea against 2-phase coal auctions, HC tells Centre

Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the response of the Government on a plea of Monet Ispat challenging the two-phased auction procedure in which 50 per cent of bidders are eliminated after the first round.

A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva issued notice to Coal Ministry and sought its reply by February 23 on the petition of the company which has also challenged the tender rule permitting multiple bidding.

The company has opposed the tender rules of excluding captive power plants from the regulated sector which contains only independent power plants.

The bench also issued notice to the ministry on Sarda Energy and Minerals Ltd’s plea challenging removal of some of its units while calculating coal requirements of the company which was disqualified from bidding for Gare Palma IV/7.

The company has also challenged its disqualification and the matter is now listed for hearing on February 20. The court will also hear on February 20 the plea of Birla Corporation Ltd which has challenged its disqualification from bidding for not attaching relevant documents while submitting its bid for the Birchapur block in Madhya Pradesh. However, the company chose not to press its plea after the bench asked the government, represented by Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain and advocate Akshay Makhija, to come with instructions on whether coercive steps against the company could be avoided.

Birla, represented by senior advocate P Chidambaram, said if it is held to be technically disqualified then it will have to forfeit its Rs two crore deposit and be barred from participating in the auction for one year. Meanwhile, the bench listed for tomorrow the plea of Jayaswal Neco Industries Ltd (JNIL) which has moved the court against the two phase auction as well as bid condition permitting multiple bidding by a company.

The matter will be taken up tomorrow with that of Bhushan Power and Steel Ltd (BPSL) which has also moved a plea similar to that of JNIL and Monet.

The government has, meanwhile, filed an affidavit stating that it intends to challenge the court’s February 11 judgement in which it had observed that end-use of power “would include generation of power for captive use”.
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