Haryana Govt dismisses mining Scam

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Chandigarh: News items have appeared in a few newspapers (ToI and Indian Express) regarding the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case relating to Dadam stone mine of District Bhiwani.12 stone mines, [07 of District Bhiwani and 05 of District Mahendergarh] were auctioned in December, 2013 amongst the pre-qualified bidders. The stone mine of Dadam Village District Bhiwani attracted the highest bid of 115 crore per annum offered by M/s KJSL-Sunder (JV) against the reserve price of Rs 6.25 crore per annum. The lease was granted for a period of 10 years, which was to start from the date of EC or after 12 months from the date of issuance of LoI, dated 03.01.2014, whichever was earlier as per State Mining Rules, 2012.
M/s KJSL-Sunder (JV), the highest bidder of Dadam stone mine created a peculiar situation wherein the lead partner KJSL ( holding 51% share) sought to rescind the lease but the minor partner M/s Sunder Marketing Associates (SMA) opted to run the mine. He submitted that if lead partner is allowed to go out of lease, he may be allowed either to run as whole or he may be allowed to induct another pre-qualified agency. The SMA offered that he would run the mine on same terms & conditions.
At this point it needs to be clarified that out of 12 stone mines, the pre-qualified and finally successful bidders in case of 04 stone mines got their bids cancelled by the orders of the Hon’ble High Court date 15.01.2015. One bidder who was also party in High Court along with KJSL-Sunder, also rescinded the lease. In this way, the pre-qualified bidders after offering bids ran away from the bids. The State thereafter took a decision that henceforth the auctions be conducted without any pre-qualification, because the pre-qualified bidders were acting as a cartel. The advice of Advocate General, Haryana was sought for legally valid and justified action on the part of State in the Dadam case. The AG Haryana advised that the overall interest of the state warrants the continuation of the contract by the bidder, notwithstanding the withdrawal of the one of the partners of the Joint Venture. It was also observed that surrender of the share of the one of the partners in favor of the remaining partner is neither an express violation of the leasing terms and conditions nor running by the existing partners could in any manner put the state to any prejudice.
In view of advice of A.G. Haryana, the State on 17.06.2015 allowed SMA to execute the lease deed after furnishing an Indemnity Bond in order to further secure the interest of the State. The SMA could commence mining operations only in 29.10.2015 after getting environmental clearance from the MoEF&CC, Govt. of India.
One Sh. Ved Pal Tanwar through a CWP before Hon’ble High Court disputed the permission given to SMA alleging that SMA on its own was not a pre-qualified bidder and should not have been permitted to operate the mine. He also claimed that had the mine been put to fresh auction, he would have also been able to participate in the auction and he claimed that State would have attracted higher bid. The State Government examined the whole matter and sought fresh advice of the AG Haryana. AG, Haryana in his advice, ratified by the Additional Solicitor General of India, recommended the withdrawal of the permission and termination of the lease/contract after following proper procedure in the case.
In light of the fresh advice, the state Government took the decision to review its earlier decision. The State decided that the permission granted in June, 2015 be withdrawn and the area be put to fresh auction. The official spokesperson clarified that the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court are in line with the decision of the State Government dated 29.02.2016 and that permission of M/s SMA was correctly withdrawn and the latest decision is in the interest of the public exchequer and the state welcomes the decision. The mine has been notified for the auction on 24.07.2017 and the auction will conclude on 22.08.2017 at 04.00 p.m.
As regards observation relating to misplacement of related file it is clarified that no file of the case was ever misplaced. In fact when one of the RTI applicants sought to have information about the case in hand, the file was under process/submission and not available with the SPIO, therefore, the applicant was informed about the same. The RTI applicant was provided the information/documents immediately on receipt/return of the file on 22.4.2016.

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