Shiv Vani rejects 'cartel' allegation by ONGC

Vol 15, PW 2 (28 Jul 11) Exploration & Production

Shiv Vani is vigorously disputing its disqualification from an ONGC tender to hire onland workover rigs at its Ahmedabad, Ankleshwar and Assam assets for three years.

PETROWATCH learns Delhi-based Shiv Vani is facing criticism because its joint managing director Padam Singhee is also a director on the board of MaxTech Oil & Gas, another bidder in the onland tender, where ONGC wants nine rigs. On July 20, ONGC’s Executive Purchase Committee endorsed tender committee recommendations to reject Shiv Vani and MaxTech’s bids for seeking to form a ‘cartel’.

In support of these recommendations, the tender committee argued that MaxTech anyway stood disqualified for not replying by the June 29 deadline to the second round of clarifications. ONGC’s tender committee also pointed out that Padam Singhee had strangely been authorised by both Shiv Vani and MaxTech to sign the bid on their behalf, violating the terms of ONGC’s ‘Integrity Pact’ which says all bidders must sign.

Because Singhee is on the boards of both companies, said the tender committee, he could have access to information about bidding, prices, specifications, subsidiary contracts “or anything restricting competition and introducing cartelisation.” Otherwise, it had no complaints about either Shiv Vani or Max Tech’s technical qualifications.

When contacted by this report, a senior Shiv Vani source vehemently denies ONGC’s allegations and hits back by saying it is the one being victimised in a conspiracy hatched by “business rivals.” He tells us Padam Singhee holds less than 1% in MaxTech even though he is a director.

“Singhee plays no role in the daily functioning of MaxTech,” we learn. Further, if MaxTech was anyway earlier disqualified by ONGC for not replying to queries, then Singhee’s role as a director on its board is immaterial and Shiv Vani should not have been disqualified.