Fernas hits back at forged certificate allegation

Vol 16, PW 17 (21 Mar 13) People & Policy

Turkish contractor Fernas vigorously denies it used fake certificates from Qatar Petroleum to win two prestigious EPC contracts.

Murdered EIL junior manager Shashank Yadav was due to give a written statement on March 13 to the CBI about the allegations but was found dead that day in Noida Stadium. Strangely, the CBI has yet to confirm if Fernas did indeed submit fake certificates to win a Rs1800cr ($360m) EPC contract for the ONGC-promoted OPaL petrochemical complex at Dahej; and a Rs300cr ($60m) contract to lay the South Jetty Pipeline at IndianOil's under-construction Paradip refinery.

Fernas insists it is not guilty. “We have given enough documentary evidence to EIL to prove that our completion certificate from Qatar Petroleum is correct," says Sanjiv Malhotra of Fernas.

"We don’t understand why EIL isn't accepting our documentary evidence. Why would a company with an international reputation like ours do something so cheap These allegations are spread by our rivals.

" Both the OPaL and the IOC contracts were awarded to Fernas in March 2011. EIL was PMC for the OPaL project and EPC contractor for the Paradip pipeline.

A junior EIL manager, we learn, flagged up concerns in April 2011 that Fernas had submitted fake documents, but he was ignored. Soon after an anonymous e-mail complaint was sent to OPal.

This was forwarded to (then) ONGC chairman AK Hazarika and (then) director finance DK Sarraf. After inquiries OPaL recommended no action against Fernas, but Sarraf re-opened the inquiry in June 2011 and sent the file to EIL’s vigilance department in August 2011.

EIL's then chief vigilance official Arun Singhal filed a formal CBI complaint on January 9 this year after securing oil ministry approval.