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BMIC: court questions notification on bids

J. Venkatesan

Government’s decision an affront to judgment: NICE

— Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Hit by problems: A file picture of the peripheral ring road connecting Mysore Road and Kanakapura Road, constructed by NICE as part of BMIC project, in Bangalore.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday questioned the Karnataka Government for issuing a notification inviting global bids for the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project when there was a specific direction issued in April 2006 to the State and to Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE) to complete the project expeditiously.

A three-judge Bench of Justice B.N. Agrawal, Justice P.P. Naolekar and Justice D.K. Jain told counsel Sanjay Hegde, appearing for the State, “this matter requires consideration particularly whether you (the State) can contravene the directions issued by this court and issue such a notification.”

Mr. Hegde opposed the passing of any interim order and said the writ petition could be tagged with other petitions listed for hearing on October 5. He said the notification for global bids was issued because NICE “wants to expand the scope of the project by grabbing more lands than what is required. We don’t want Nandi to become another ‘Nandigram’.”

Earlier senior counsel Ashok Desai, appearing for NICE, explained to the court the series of steps taken by the State Government to scuttle the project despite the judgment of this court in April 2006. He said, “you can’t make a mockery of the Supreme Court judgment. Let this court summon the Chief Minister or the Minister concerned and the Chief Secretary for brazenly disobeying the court orders and then they will learn the lesson.”

Mr. Desai alleged that a powerful land mafia was interested in the project and the Chief Minister and the Minister concerned were behind this mafia. He said NICE had already spent Rs. 1,200 crore for the project and after the Cabinet decision to review the project the banker had written to the company for review of financial support. Other lenders had also expressed concern about the future of the project, he said.

Mr. Desai argued that the Cabinet decision and the subsequent notification were an affront to the apex court judgment which was binding on the State Government.

In its petition, NICE said the action of the State was to frustrate the directions issued by the apex court and an attempt to remove the basis of the judgment.

Having failed in its earlier attempt to scuttle and kill the project, the State had once again embarked on the path of confrontation with the judiciary. The petition sought a direction to set aside the State Government’s decision and to quash the notification inviting global bids for the project.

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