Quippo hires P. Chidambaram to fight ONGC

Vol 19, PW 13 (10 Mar 16) People & Policy

Sometimes bringing in a big hitter can work wonders.

Quippo has hired P. Chidambaram, India's former finance minister and a formidable corporate lawyer, to fight ONGC in the Delhi High Court.

Quippo is protesting its disqualification in a tender to shoot 40,835-lkm 2D across 11 sectors. Chidambaram appeared before justices Sanjeev Sachdeva and Badar Durrez on March 1, arguing Quippo should be allowed to bid.

And he managed to win a minor victory when the court told ONGC not to award contracts to winning bidders until the case is decided. ONGC has also been told to explain by March 11 why it opened price bids when the case was in court? "The court was sympathetic towards Quippo," says an industry source.

"The judges agreed Quippo is not the only one at fault. ONGC has in the past awarded contracts to companies which were not 100% subsidiaries.

Quippo wants to know why it has been singled out." ONGC disqualified Quippo's bid saying it is only 99.92% owned by its parent SREI Infrastructure when tender conditions stated that the bidder should be a 100% subsidiary if it cites the financial strength of a parent company. ONGC's Independent External Monitors (IEMs) upheld its decision to disqualify Quippo in the last week of January.

"But within two days," we hear, "ONGC opened the price bids."

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