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Government lists projects won by Anil Ambani under UPA's watch  4 Months ago

Source:   Times Of India  

(This article was originally published in The Economic Times on 12/10/2018)

NEW DELHI: The government has started to compile a list of projects awarded to Anil Ambani’s companies by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime to counter the Congress charge that the Bharatiya Janata Party had favoured the conglomerate in securing offsets from the Rafale contract.

Officials told ET on the condition of anonymity that preliminary enquiries have revealed projects worth Rs 100,000 crore were awarded to Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group during the last seven years of the Congress-led UPA government.

The data is being collated from key ministries such as power, telecom, road transport and highways as well as government entities like the National Highways Authority of India, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.

“All these projects were with government agencies. We are looking at the processing time that went into these projects, and whether due processes were followed,” said an official.



Another official said regulatory approvals for Reliance Communications, the group’s telecom arm, had come in record time. “The biggest spurt in growth was in Reliance Infrastructure, which by 2011 had transformed from an electricity distribution company to India’s largest infrastructure company within five years. Nearly 12 projects worth over Rs 16,500 crore were initiated, making Reliance Infrastructure the largest private developer of roads in the country. All this is being looked into,” he said.

CENTRE SEEKING DETAILS FROM MAHARASHTRA GOVT
The exercise, which officials claimed was part of a regular data update, comes at a time when the Congress has sharpened its attack on the government over the Rafale deal. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has alleged the deal size was brought down to 36 aircraft from the original 126 negotiated during the UPA’s tenure so that Reliance Defence could bag the Rs 30,000-crore offsets deal.

The prime minister, Rahul has alleged, did “chowkidaari” for Anil Ambani and looted the money allocated for Indian Air Force while paying it to Ambani. “Data on mainly six Anil Ambani companies is being put together — Reliance Communications, Reliance Capital, Reliance Power, Reliance Infrastructure, Reliance Natural Resources and Reliance Media-Works.

None of the group firms saw a decline in market cap during a period of over five years during the UPA’s tenure from 2007 to 2012. Many of them did not have adequate experience before bagging the projects,” said a senior official. The official said the group had won projects worth over Rs 77,000 crore in the power sector alone, which included an integrated power plant in Madhya Pradesh as well as different projects in mining, power transmission and distribution.

Officials said the Centre had also approached the Maharashtra government to obtain finer details of the projects. According to officials, some of the road projects awarded to Ambani’s companies under the UPA were Delhi-Agra, Bengaluru-Chennai, Pune-Satara and Jaipur-Bikaner segments, along with four infrastructure projects in southern India, the Delhi Airport Metro Express line and Mumbai Metro’s line 1.

The Reliance Infrastructure spokesperson said the company won all its build, operate and transfer (BOT) and public-private partnership (PPP) projects between 2004 and 2014 when the UPA was in power. Under the current National Democratic Alliance regime, Reliance Infrastructure and Reliance Power have not participated in any project on BOT/PPP basis, the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson said the company had invested in and executed projects worth Rs 150,000 crore till 2014 in various sectors, including complex power, EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) projects, cement, metro and roads.

“The company had invested over Rs 100,000 crore in multiple PPP/BOT projects during the UPA’s time, on infrastructure, power and EPC projects alone,” the person added. According to details provided by the group, during the UPA regime, the company won 11 road projects through competitive bidding. This led to an investment of Rs 12,000 crore.
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