Questions about KPTCL bid of Rs 68 crore to a bidder
State-owned Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd (KPTCL) awarded a tender to a company which was the only bidder to implement an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system costing Rs 68 crore amid protests from a major software company and a complaint to the chief minister.
This raised questions about how the tender was finalized, but Energy Minister V Sunil Kumar maintained that due process had been followed. In May this year, KPTCL issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) on “Selection of a System Integrator for the Supply, Installation, Commissioning, Implementation and Support of the ERP System”.
On July 13, KPTCL issued clarifications and changes to the terms of the tender. A Fortune Global 500 company wrote several emails to KPTCL reporting how the tender was being handled.
DH has seen these emails and the company name is being withheld to protect the identity of those involved. In its first email of July 27, the company expressed its willingness to participate in the bidding process.
He requested that the date for submission of bids be extended to August 22, as he had other commitments related to the tender at the time. On August 3, he wrote another email to KPTCL expressing his shock that the deadline for submitting bids had not been extended. The company said it was a leader in ERP and urged KPTCL not to consider the only offer received from a company that “has never implemented ERP” in a public sector company .
He called on KPTCL to republish the tender and create a “level playing field” for other organisations. On September 13, the company wrote to KPTCL again insisting that the tender should be republished to solicit new bids.
The case reached Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s office on September 19 via email from a whistleblower. “The RFP is drafted with such bad faith intent that very large qualified global systems integrators like L&T Infotech, Birlasoft, Accenture, Infosys and Wipro are not eligible,” the whistleblower said. The company that won the ERP tender “has never done a project of this magnitude and complexity”, the whistleblower said, urging Bommai to “stop such misuse of funds public procurement and public procurement compliance”.
According to Kumar, this was the third tender launched for the ERP. “On all three occasions, there was only one offer. According to our rules, we can award the tender to only one bidder on the third occasion. In fact, we could have done it the second time around. Yet, we have launched the tender for the third time,” Kumar said. There is also question of quid pro quo and the involvement of a relative of Kumar’s family, which the minister denied. “None of my family members interfere in administrative matters,” he said.