The Maharashtra government has refuted the allegation that conditions listed in the tender for the redevelopment of the Dharavi slums in Mumbai were revised to favour the Adani Group, Bar and Bench reported on Saturday.

The Housing Department of the state government has told the Bombay High Court in an affidavit that the revision was done keeping in mind the larger public interest and the “change in financial and material circumstances in the country from 2019 to 2022”.

The court is hearing a petition filed by Dubai-based Seclink Technology Corporation, challenging the conditions of the tender issued in September by the Slum Rehabilitation Authority.

Seclink has claimed that it had won the tender for the redevelopment of the Dharavi slums in January 2019, but was not awarded the contract. It has alleged that the Maharashtra government added additional clauses in the tender, which the Adani Group subsequently won in November 2022.

The company has alleged that the revision in conditions was done intentionally by the state government to favour the Gautam Adani-led conglomerate.

The bidding process for the project had been cancelled by the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government in October 2020, citing challenges in the acquisition of railway land. However, the fresh tender for the project was allowed in September by the newly-formed state government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

In its affidavit before the High Court, the Maharashtra government said that the conditions of the new tender had been fixed after careful discussion with experts.

It also said that new conditions were based on rationale and reasonable grounds, reported The Hindu.

“Several factors like the financial and economic state of affairs in January, 2019 and in 2022 are materially different,” the state government said. “The present economic state of affairs is materially affected by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, uncertainty over the Rupee-USD rate, interest rate volatility and overall high-risk perception of common investor.”

It said that there was no question of excluding anyone’s participation in the fresh tender, adding that Seclink could have submitted a fresh bid after complying with the new terms and conditions, reported Bar and Bench.

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