The Supreme Court today dismissed Larsen & Toubro's appeal challenging its disqualification from participation in state-run NTPC's Rs 15,000 crore power equipment tender and seeking a stay on the bidding process.
A bench comprising Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Cyriac Joseph declined to stay an interim order by the Delhi High Court rejecting L&T's plea for suspending the bidding process for the tender after its bid was disqualified on technical grounds.
However, the apex court directed the High Court, where the matter is still pending, to decide the issue expeditiously.
"This SLP (special leave petition) against interim order dated 14/9/2010, where the petitioner's interim prayer was rejected... Since writ petition is still pending before the High Court, we do not wish to express any views. We are also not inclined to entertain this SLP and is dismissed," the bench said.
"However, since the matter is pending before the High Court and it has a huge financial stake, the High Court is requested to decide on this writ petition as early as possible," the bench said, directing the High Court not to give any adjournment on November 11, the next date of hearing.
In a setback for L&T, the Delhi High Court had on September 14 refused its plea to stay the bidding process for NTPC's tender, after the infrastructure major was disqualified from participation, ostensibly because it did not match the technical criteria for selection.
The High Court had also refused to intervene in the bidding process.
L&T had dragged NTPC to court after its bid for the Rs 15,000 crore bulk tender was disqualified by the power company, citing technical irregularities. However, following the rejection of its plea for a stay on the bidding process, it had approached the apex court.
NTPC had issued a tender for bulk ordering of supercritical power equipment with a cumulative generation capacity of 7,200 MW, with the caveat that the bidder should have a manufacturing facility in India in order to promote domestic companies.
L&T Power was disqualified by NTPC from supplying boilers and turbines under the tender on the ground that the technology collaboration agreement for the equipment to be supplied was between its parent (L&T) and Mitsubishi Industries Ltd and not directly with L&T Power.