Israeli firm’s $31 mn Goa hospital project under scanner (Lead)

August 5th, 2010 - 4:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Aug 5 (IANS) Goa’s opposition Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) has alleged a multi-crore scam and pre-bid rigging in clearing a Rs.140 crore ($31 million) super-speciality hospital project jointly promoted by an Israeli defence major and the state government.
The government has agreed to initiate an enquiry into the allegations levelled by the opposition but refused to stall the construction of the super-specialty hospital project.

Putting Health Minister Vishwajeet Rane on the mat, Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar said that the Israeli firm, Elbit Imaging, had in a board meeting resolved to start a subsidiary company Elbit India Hospitals Limited (EIHL), a month before it was actually awarded the contract.

“This is a scam. The company knew in advance they were getting the contract. I have a copy of the extract of the minutes of a board meeting in which the directors consented to the incorporation of its company in India, even before it was awarded the contract,” Parrikar told the Goa legislative assembly Thursday, adding that despite the involvement of consultants in the bidding process, the awarding of the contract to the Israel-based smacked of pre-rigging.

“Elbit Imaging consented to start the Indian subsidiary before the contract was awarded to them. And what is shocking is that the name of the Indian subsidiary mentioned in the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the state government exactly matches the one approved at the BoD (Board of Directors) meeting a month ago,” Parrikar said.

“Other bidders withdrew from the tendering because the whole process was rigged,” Parrikar said, tabling the documents in the house.

Rane said he would enquire into the allegations made by the opposition but refused to stall the project, in which the Goa government has 15 percent equity, with 85 percent being held by EIHL.

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