Seabon and Piranha breach ONGC compliance norms

Vol 18, PW 9 (18 Dec 14) Exploration & Production

Seabon Shipping and Piranha Shipping stand accused of violating ONGC compliance norms in a tender to hire crew boats for the western offshore.

Under scrutiny is Category A2 of the tender where ONGC needs two boats for three years, which can each travel at up to 25 knots and carry 45 people. When ONGC opened price bids on November 14, it discovered Seabon was the lowest bidder offering one boat at around $5900/day followed by Piranha, also offering one boat at around $6010/day.

However, both companies have a common director in Ankit Kamalkumar Gupta. Search on Google and you’ll see AK Gupta was appointed director at Piranha on October 23, 2012 and as additional director at Seabon on December 22, 2012.

More, Seabon CEO Kamal Kumar Gupta is a director at Piranha Shipping. Such cross-holdings, it seems, violate Section 2.2(5) of ONGC’s Integrity Pact which says bidders should not have any relationship directly or indirectly through common third parties such that they can influence each other’s bid.

Contacted for a comment, KK Gupta confirmed he is a director at Piranha and CEO of Seabon. “But I’m not a signatory anywhere (for Seabon),” he said.

“They‘ve only appointed me as their CEO.” Asked if this violates ONGC’s Integrity Pact, Gupta said: “Why are you asking me this? Ask ONGC!” Developed by Transparency International to fight corruption, ONGC adopted the Integrity Pact in 2005.

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