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Tata Power hid info in Sasan case: Govt

February 06, 2009 11:28 IST

The government on Thursday sought dismissal of Tata Power's petition seeking re-tendering of the Sasan ultra mega power project on the grounds that the company suppressed material facts and documents in its plea.

In an affidavit filed before the Delhi High Court, the government said: 'The entire basis of the writ petition is false and purely misconceived.'

Tata Power had demanded re-tendering, saying the permission granted for diversion of coal from the captive mines of the Sasan project was a substantial deviation from the bid conditions and affected the economics of the project.

Tata Power was one of the bidders for the 4,000-Mw Sasan UMPP in Madhya Pradesh, which was finally bagged by Reliance Power.

The pithead coal-based project is fed by three captive mines -- Moher, Moher Amlori Extension and Chhatrasal. Reliance Power managed to get permission from an Empowered Group of Ministers to use surplus coal from the three mines for another of its projects in Chitrangi.

Tata Power approached the Delhi High Court challenging this diversion and sought re-tendering for the UMPP so that the bidders could factor in the benefits of this diversion.

The court, while hearing Tata Power's petition last month, did not give a stay and fixed the next date for hearing on February 24. It also asked the government and Reliance Power to file their affidavits within three weeks and Tata Power to file its rejoinder in the subsequent two weeks.

Terming Tata Power's case as of 'misconceived nature,' the government in its affidavit also mentioned that the company 'has been allotted two blocks viz Tubed and Mandakini, which also have the condition that coal from the coal block can be used for purpose other than the purpose for which the coal has been allotted with the approval of the central government.'

The government also accused Tata Power of suppressing material facts and documents which showed there was provision for such diversion with prior approval of the government. It has also argued that Tata Power has no legal rights as a 'person aggrieved' since it withdrew from the UMPP tender process by not extending its bid by 30 days.

When contacted, Tata Power refused to comment saying the matter was subjudice.
BS Reporter in New Delhi