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HC restrains TMC from awarding global tender for cancer unit

The Bombay High Court has restrained Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) till June 9 from awarding a global tender for installation and commissioning of a radiation therapy facility for treatment of cancer.

The order was passed recently by a bench of Justices V L Achliya and Naresh Patil on a petition filed by Germany-based Varian Medical Systems Particle Therapy which challenged TMC's decision to award the contract for the facility to Ion Beam Applications Ltd (IBA), a Chinese firm.

The tender relates to installation and commissioning of a unit for Hadron Beam Therapy, a branch of radiation therapy used in treatment of cancer. The German company has alleged the contract had been awarded to Ion Beam in violation of norms.

Counsel for TMC, Agnel Carneiro, however, submitted that no decision had been taken to award the contract and the process is likely to take a month or so.

In view of this submission, the bench deferred the hearing to June 9 and until then it restrained TMC, a specialist cancer treatment and research centre, from awarding the contract to the Chinese firm or any other company.

Although the petition did not mention the financial details of the contract, the deal is likely to run into millions of dollars, sources said.

TMC, located in Parel, Central Mumbai, is an autonomous body under the administrative control of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), which has also been made a respondent in the matter.

The petition said that on July 5, 2014, TMC issued a global tender for installation and commissioning of Hadron Beam Therapy facility.The tender was to be submitted in two parts- technical and financial.

Tenders were submitted by bidders on December 1, 2014 and on the next day, technical bids - ie Part One of the tender - were opened. 

Varian and IBA were declared as the only two participating bidders.The date of opening of Part Two - i.e the price bid - was to be communicated later and only to the technically qualified bidders, said the petition.

The petitioner alleged that TMC and DAE "intentionally and malafidely failed to comply with the mandatory and essential terms and conditions stipulated in the tender and deliberately violated the same in order to favour the respondent No 3 (Ion Beam).

"By seeking revision of financial bids from the Respondent No 3 at the instance of seeking clarifications (which did not warrant any revision in financial bid), the Respondent No 1 (TMC) has violated an essential term and condition of the tender document," the petitioner contended.

"TMC acted in an unfair and arbitrary manner against the principles of fair play and thereby illegally afforded an opportunity to better the offer than the petitioner," Varian Medical argued.

The German company sought a court direction to TMC and DAE to quash the bidding process for setting up the cancer care facility and pleaded that a fresh tender may 
be allowed.
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