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Delhi HC fines firm Rs12.5 cr, money to be used for installing smog towers

Sonal Bhargava | Edited by Prabhat Bandhulya

The Delhi HC on Wednesday imposed costs of ₹12.5 crores on SARR Freight Corporation, a private firm, for concealing facts from the Court about its blacklisting in a tender matter and directed that the said cost shall be utilized for the installation and operationalization of a smog tower before the advent of winter season in the city.

Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh of the Division Bench ruled that if the corporation had come clean and acknowledged its blacklisting, it would not have been able to make a profit of Rs 12.50 crore, and that the money should be invested back into society.

The bench was considering a petition filed by CJDARCL Logistics Limited, which requested that a government business, RITES Ltd, dismiss the private company's (SARR) proposals and award the tender to the petitioner as the L1 bidder.

According to reports, the RITES issued an e-tender on August 30, 2021, for the employment of a freight forwarder to transport export projects. The petitioner took part in the tender process.

The petitioner claimed that the RITES opened the commercial bids incorrectly and then opened the technical bids, after which it was designated as the L2 bidder while SARR was designated as the L1 bidder.

However, according to the appeal, SARR intentionally concealed the information that it was prohibited for a year by the Ministry of Defence and later by the Food Corporation of India, and as a result, it is likely to be disqualified.

Despite SARR's claim that there are status quo orders on the banning orders, the High Court dismissed the claim because it did not negate the existence of those orders.

As a result, it levied a cost of Rs.12.5 crore on SARR.

The Court also levied a cost of ₹25 lakh on RITES for awarding the tender to SARR despite learning that it was liable to be disqualified under the terms and conditions.

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