Communication minister A Raja has turned to the prime minister's office to save a tender issued by state-owned telco BSNL for 93 million lines worth over $10 billion.
According to the minister, corporate rivalries were responsible for the PSU not being able to close the deal for the world's largest GSM contract.
The PSU was forced to put the tender on hold with the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) launching a fresh probe into the process in December 2007. The anti-corruption body's guidelines do not allow post-tender negotiations with successful bidders.
Ericsson of Sweden had put in the lowest bid for the north and south east zones while China's Huawei had been selected for the south and west zones. BSNL had been also advised by DoT not to renegotiate the price with Ericsson as it would violate CVC guidelines.
BSNL is reported to have entered into negotiations with Ericsson for reductions beyond the 40 per cent it had agreed to. It is believed that while all major telecom deals involve such negotiations, the CVC had missed taking action against them.
In his communication to the prime minister Raja said that CVC's objections largely seem to pertain to rejection of Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), which had been minutely scrutinised and upheld by two High Courts earlier. He added that corporate rivalries were standing in the way of decision making the in the government.