Case No: Writ Petition No. 2005 of 2011
Judge: Farah Mahmub,
Court: High Court Division,,
Advocate: M Amirul Islam,Mr. Rokanuddin Mahmud,,
Citation: 1 LNJ (2012) 268
Case Year: 2012
Appellant: BGP Inc.
Respondent: Government of Bangladesh and others
Subject: Writ Petition, Locus Standi,
Delivery Date: 2011-05-29
(SPECIAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION)
|Mrs. Farah Mahbub J.
Mr. Farid Ahamed J.
BGP Inc., China National Petroleum Corporation
Bangladesh and others
Public Procurement Act (xxiv of 2006)
Section 2(23) and 29
Public Procurement Act, 2008
Rules 2 (41), 56 and 117.
The petitioner has challenged the Memo dated 10.20.2011 purporting amongst others that the petition is non-responsive against “Invitation for Engagement of Seismic contractor”. The fact remains that Petrobangla considered the EOI of BGP (Bangladesh) International as appropriate, and short listed the same as contractor, whereas the Review Panel-1 declared the said contractor as non responsive on the count that BGP Inc., CNPC being a separate entity cannot file RFP. The said decision has been given without giving opportunity to BGP (Bangladesh) International to represent their part of the case. No doubt, there is serious anomally over the ambiguity of the petitioner-company who filed RFP, which is still lying pending before the Evaluation Committee for consideration and above all as per ITC clause 5.1 filing RFP is limited to short list contractors only. As such, since BGP (Bangladesh) International has been declared non-responsive the said short-listed contractor is the appropriate aggrieved person to maintain this writ petition, not BGP Inc., CNPC. The respondent No. 8 being a “sub-contractor” it’s right and interest lies with the short-listed contactor CGG veritas, France who does not appear to have authorized the said respondent to file complaint to the concern authority against BGP Inc., CNPC in order to oust BGP (Bangladesh) International without making it a party. Hence, has no locus standi to maintain the complaint before the Review Panel-1, respondent No.3. In the present case, the Procuring Entity short listed 8 (eight) contractors and the RFP submitted by them are still lying pending for consideration before the Evaluation Committee, either to be declared responsive or non-responsive. Moreover, the allegation was against BGP (Bangladesh) International whose right to be declared responsive or non-responsive has been adjudicated and disposed of by the respondent no. 3 without making it a party and without issuing notice providing opportunity to defend it’s part of the case by adducing documents, which is a flagrant violation of the principle of natural justice. The impugned order dated 10.02.2011 passed by the respondent no.3 is declared to have been passed without lawful authority and hence, of no legal effect. . . . . (25 and 27 to 30)
Mr. Mustafizur Rahman Khan, Advocate
Mr. Nurul Amin, Advocate with
Mr. Sheikh Rafiqul Islam, Advocate
Writ Petition No. 2005 of 2011
1. In this Rule, issued under Article 102 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the respondents have been called upon to show cause as to why the decision of respondent no.3, communicated under memo no. IMED/CPIU/RP-01/90-2011/151 dated 10.02.2011 (Annexure-A), purporting that the petitioner, amongst others, is non-responsive against “Invitation for Engagement of Seismic Contractor” for conduct of 3100 L Km of 2D seismic survey in Block nos.2,3,4,6,8 and 11 under proposal no.31.02.204/160 issued on 11.04.2010, should not be declared to have been passed without lawful authority and hence, of no legal effect.
2. At the time of issuance of the Rule the operation of the impugned decision dated 10.02.2011 has been stayed.
3. Facts, in brief, are that the petitioner, a globally reputed geophysical and seismic survey company incorporated under the laws of the People’s Republic of China, having its Head Office in China and Branch Office in Bangladesh, impugned the decision of the respondent no.3 communicated under memo No. IMED/CPTU/RP-01/90-2011/151 dated 10.02.11 (Annexure-A) contending, inter alia, that it had undertaken seismic survey projects in various parts of the world, including Bangladesh, for different public and private sector clients. The petitioner company established a branch office in Dhaka upon obtaining permission from the Board of Investment vide memo dated 25.11.2009 (Annexure-B). Vide notification dated 17.09.2009, Petrobangla, respon-dent No. 5 requested to offer Expressions of Interest (in short, EOI) for short listing seismic contractor to carry out 2D Land Seismic Contract-3100 Lkm Seismic Survey including Data Processing and Interpretation under Fast Track Programme. In response to the said invitation the petitioner submi-tted an EOI on 28.10.2009 containing necessary informations and particulars about the petitioner-company, signed by the General Manager, BGP (Bangladesh) International. It has also been contended that EOI, in fact, was submitted by the petitioner-Company, “BGP Inc., China National Petroleum Corporation (in short, CNPC)” as is apparent from the contents of the EOI and the materials enclosed therein including the performance certificates issued against past contracts(Annexure-D). Following the assessment of the respective EOIs submitted by the interested parties, the petitioner along with 7 (seven) other contractors were short listed as contractors for the proposed survey by Petrobangla, placing the petitioner company at serial No. 6 under the name “BGP (Bangladesh) International”. Accordingly, letter of invitation dated 11.04.2010 was issued enclosing therewith a “Request for Proposal (in short, RFP) inviting the petitioner company to submit its proposal for the respective project (Annexure-E). Since “BGP (Bangladesh) International” was not a separate legal entity, but part of the internal organizational structure of the petitioner-Company the petitioner, before submitting its technical proposal(RFP) and before the respondent No. 8 filed objection, under it’s cover letter dated 10.06.2010 along with a letter dated 24.05.2010 and a statement dated 31.05.2010, clarified the position that the name of the short listed bidding entity was, in fact, BGP Inc., China National Petroleum Corporation (Annexure-F, F-1, and F-2 respectively). When RFPs, submitted by the petitioner-company and others, were still under the process of consideration the petitioner-company came to receive information of the impugned decision purporting that it had been declared non-responsive by the respondent no.3 vide it’s decision dated 10.02.2011 (Annexure-A) without making either BGP (Bangladesh) International or BGP Inc., China National Petroleum Corporation a party or giving personal hearing, upon a review petition filed by the respondent no.8 purporting to be the sub-contractor of one of the other short listed contractors, CGG Veritas, France without due authorization of the Principal-Contractor (Annexure-G,G-1 and G-2 respectively). Being aggrieved by and dissatisfied with the petitioner company had preferred the instant application and obtained the present Rule.
4. Respondent No.8 entered appearance by filling affidavit-in-opposition contending, inter alia, that Petrobangla vide notification dated 17.09.2009 invited for EOI from the eligible contractors in order to get seismic contract for carrying out 2-D land seismic survey involving about 3100 Lkm data acquisition including Data Processing and Interpretation and related services. CGG Veritas, France on 28.10.2009 submitted EOI along with other participants including BGP (Bangladesh) International (Annexure-I-A and I-B). After scrutiny, on 11.04.2010 Petrobangla made a short list as per the Rules and sent a Letter of Invitation to 8(eight) short listed companies. Accordingly, Request For Proposal (shortly, “RFP”) was issued to the short listed contractors including BGP (Bangladesh) International. The petitioner-company namely BGP Inc., CNPC was not on that list. CGG Veritas, France mentioning respondent no.8 as its local agent and sub-contractor submitted RFP to Petrobangla on 14.06.2010 (Annexure-I-C, I-D and I-E respectively). BGP (Bangladesh) International submitted EOI in its own name and was short listed to participate in the bid, but RFP was submitted on 14.06.2010 in the name of BGP Inc., China National Petroleum Corporation, No. 189 Fanyang Xi Road, Hebei Province, China instead of BGP (Bangladesh) International in violation of the terms and conditions of RFP Clause-5.1. Respondent no.8, the local agent of CGG Veritas, France on 26.12.2010 submitted an application to the Director (Planning), Petrobangla complaining the irregularity that a new Company BGP Inc., CNPC though not short listed, was incorporated in the evaluation list in violation of section 117 of the Public Procurement Rules, 2008 (in short “PPR, 2008”) Annexure-I-F). Finding no response respondent no.8 on 03.01.2010 filed another representation to the Head of Procuring Entity and the Managing Director of BAPEX about the aforementioned complaint who also failed to take necessary steps in the matter (Annexure-G). Respondent No. 8 on 11.01.2011 raised the said issue to the Secretary, Energy, Mineral Resources Division, Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, but without any effective result (Annexure-I-H). Having exhausted all the procedural steps as per rule 57 of PPR, 2008 and having not received any response respondent no.8 on 19.01.2011 filed a review petition to the Chairman, Review Panel-1, CPTU, IMED Division, Ministry of Planning, respondent No. 3. The Review Panel after hearing both the parties (respondent No. 8 and Petrobangla) vide memo No. IMED/CPTU/RP-01/ 90-2011/151 dated 10.02.2011 allowed the same and declared BGP (Bangladesh) International non-responsive according to PPR, 2008. Being aggrieved the petitioner had filed the aforesaid writ petition even though it neither participated in the tender process nor was in the short list and accordingly, the present writ petition is not maintainable. It has further been contended that BGP (Bangladesh) International at no stage of the tender process claimed that they had Branch Office in Dhaka, Bangladesh or was the agent of BGP Inc., China National Petroleum Corporation. Also, the organogram so had been presented by the writ petitioner goes to show that there is no link between BGP (Bangladesh) International and BGP Inc., CNPC. As such, the petitioner-company was not entitled to be informed or communicated about the decision whatsoever of the respondent No. It has further been stated that on 25.11.2009 BGP (Bangladesh) International had established a Branch office at Dhaka of BGP Inc., CNPC on 25.11.2009 which is much later than the notification dated 17.09.2009 published by Petrobangla and also after the closing date of EOI on 28.10.2009. As such, opening of a new branch cannot go to have retrospective effect. It has also been contended that BGP Inc., CNPC at no stage submitted any EOI in response to the notification dated 17.09.2009. The EOI was, in fact, submitted by the BGP (Bangladesh) International without any signature and address stating, inter alia, that it was submitted by BGP (Pakistan) International and that “BGP(Pakistan) International was responsible to receive and prepare the tender/bid package and make necessary arrangement to carry out the work”, which goes to prove that the BGP (Pakistan) International was separate entity as well as EOI being unsigned proved itself to be a fraudulent attempt with a view to sabotage or frustrate the project so had been undertaken by the respondent-government towards resolving the gas problem in the country. From Annexure-E it is clear that BGP (Bangladesh) International along with 7(seven) other companies were short listed, not the petitioner-company. Hence, question of submitting RFP by the petitioner does not arise at all. It has also been stated that letters dated 10.06.2010, 24,05.2010 and 31.05.2010 (Annexure-F, F-1 and F-2 respectively) submitted by the petitioner-company who appeared out of no where after one BGP (Bangladesh) International was short listed is an attempt to take over the opportunity given to BGP (Bangladesh) International, which is strictly prohibited under PPR Rules,2008 and is also in violation of the Letter of Invitation dated 11.04.2010. It has further been contended that the petitioner was not notified by serving copy of the review petition simply because they were not party to the dispute raised by the respondent no.8 before the respondent No. 3. It has also been stated that BGP (Bangladesh) International submitted its EOI under the name and style “BGP (Bangladesh) International”, Gulshan Dhaka but RFP was submitted by BGP Inc. CNPC No. 189 Fanyang Xi Road, Hebei Province, China. In the process of EOI no documents were filed in favour of the petitioner-company to show that both the companies were jointly ventured or linked with each other, rather from the documents of EOI (Annexure-D) it is quite clear that the BGP (Pakistan) International had authorized BGP (Bangladesh) International to submit EOI and said BGP (Pakistan) International was entitled to receive and prepare the tender/bid package and to make necessary arrangem-ent to carry out the work. The respondent No. 3 considering the same also found that BGP (Bangladesh) International had failed to show any link with BGP Inc. CNPC. It has further been contended that respondent No. 8 was the local agent of the short listed CGG Veritas as is evident from the papers submitted by the CGG Veritas to Petrobangla. In the technical offer of the bid respondent no.8 had been mentioned as agent and sub-contractor. It’s qualifications and experience were also incorporated in the offer. In the financial offer form 5B1 represented the name and address of the agent, the respondent no.8 and the same had been accepted by Petrobangla, hence the steps so had been taken by respondent no.8 was on behalf of CGG Veritas.
5. Mr. Rokanuddin Mahmud, the learned Senior Advocate appearing with Mr. Mustafizur Rahman Khan the learned Advocate for the petitioner drawing attention to the notification dated 17.09.2009 (Annexure-C) submits that Petrobangla in its international tender had invited Expression of Interest(EOI) from the eligible contractors to be short listed to get Seismic Contract for carrying out 2D land seismic survey, where within it’s four corners there was no stipulation to the effect that the intended contractor has to have a registered branch office in Bangladesh in order to offer EOI. He further goes to argue that in response to the offer made by the petitioner company on 17.09.2009 it had submitted EOI on 28.10.2009 along with the documents showing its experience /expertise in the respective field. In this connection drawing attention to Annexure-D to the writ petition he further contends that at the left hand corner of the cover page there is a logo of BGP Inc. CNPC. Moreso, the documents relating to experience and capacity of the Seismic data process Interpretation of service as enclosed with the EOI is of BGP Inc. CNPC. With the EOI the petitioner company also submitted the Articles of Association of BGP Inc. CNPC. Accordingly, he submits that since EOI is not confined within its cover page but represents the entire documents as submitted before the Petrobangla, as such it cannot be found that the BGP (Bangladesh) International and BGP Inc. CNPC are separate entity. Moreover, he submits that the petitioner company has submitted EOI as the bidder and that accepting the alleged anomally, as apparent on the cover page of EOI, Petrobangla has short listed the petitioner company along with 7(seven) others vide Invitation no. 31.02.04/162 dated 11.04.2010 (Annexure-E) and directed the short listed contractors to submit RFP. He also submits that the petitioner company vide letter dated 24.05.2010 clarified the ambiguity regarding submission of EOI by BGP (Bangladesh) International along with other statements (Annexure-F). Subsequent thereto the petitioner under its cover letter dated 10.06.2010(Annexure-F) submitted RFP to the BAPEX. When the process of selecting a qualified contractor is pending before the Evaluation Committee of Petrobangla, the respondent no.8 having no locus standi within the meaning of section 2(23) of the Public Procurement Act,2006 (Act no.24 of 2006)( in short, the Act) and rule 2(41) of Public Procurement Rules,2008(in short, the Rules) made an application on 26.12.2010 before the Director (Planning) Petrobangla, to the Secretary, Energy Mineral Resources Division, Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources on 11.01.2011, and the Head of Procuring Entity and Managing Director of BAPEX on 03.01.2011 (Annexure-G, G-1 and 2 respectively). In this regard drawing attention to the words “অভিযোগ করিবার অধিকার” as incorporated in section 29 of the Act no.24 of 2006 he submits that only the person as defined in section 2(23) and/or rule 2(41) is eligible to file complaint against the “Procuring Entity” (এয়কারী) for having sustained loss because of its failure to discharge its duties towards the complainant or when there is a possibility of sustaining loss for such failure; whereas “এয়কারী”, the procuring entity means the entity having the administrative and financial authority to purchase “ কোন পন্য এুয়কার্য বা সেবা”. Respondent no.8 being evidently a “sub-contractor” of CGG Veritas, France has no locus standi to make complaint before the Petrobangla/Bapex or even before the Review Panel since it’s right and interest are confined only within the periphery of the contract so have been entered into with CGG. Veritas, France. In addition to that a complaint may be made under rule 56 of the Rules, 2008 for the reasons as stated therein. In this regard upon placing the complaint so had been made by the respondent no.8. Mr. Mahmud further submits that it is apparent therefrom that it does not qualify any of the circumstances as mentioned in rule 56 of the Rules, 2008. Moreover, rule 56 does not permit to make complaint against one of the short listed contractors whose REP is yet to be scrutinized and finally selected by the Evaluation Committee of Petrobangla.
6. He also goes to argue that the jurisdiction to declare a short listed contractor responsive or non-responsive squarely lies upon the Tender Evaluation Committee, the respondent no. 3 is authorized only to recommend (“সুপারিশএমে”), not to declare short listed contractor non-responsive. As such, he submits that declaring BGP (Bangladesh) International, which is the integral part of the petitioner company, non-responsive vide impugned order is without jurisdiction. Lastly, he submits that the impugned order further fails for non-compliance of the principle of natural justice since neither BGP (Bangladesh) International nor BGP Inc. CNPC has been made party in the process nor they have been called upon to represent their part of the case. In this regard he submits that if the respective correspondences/documents as contained in Annexure-D as well as Annexure-F to the writ petition could have been produced before the Review Panel it might have taken a different view in view of the findings given by respondent no. 3 “no papers and relevant documents have been filed”. Accordingly, he submits that upon making the Rule absolute the impugned order dated 10.02.2011 (Annexure A to the writ petition) passed by the respondent no. 3 is liable to be declared to have made without lawful authority and is of no legal effect.
7. Per contra, Mr. M. Amir-Ul Islam the learned Senior Advocate appearing with Mr. Md. Nurul Amin, the learned Advocate on behalf of the respondent no.8 assailing the locus standi of the petitioner-company submits that EOI has not been placed by the petitioner company, it was BGP (Bangladesh) International who submitted the same via BGP (Pakistan) International without endorsing the signature of the respective officer of the company as well as without mentioning the date and address of the respective company. As such, the EOI so submitted the respective company has no legal basis. Moreover, when the Letter of Invitation clearly states, “it is not permissible to transfer this invitation to any other contractor/firm”, also in ITC: 5.1 it has been provided that “this request for proposal document is limited to short listed Contractor (s) only”, as such, submitting REP by BGP Inc. CNPC on 14.06.2010 is the violation of the terms and conditions of REP clause 5.1. He further argues that the respondent no.8 is an agent of CGG Veritas, France as has been clearly stated in its Technical Proposal Submission Form dated 05.06.2010 submitted by the CGG Varitas, France in addition to his status as a sub-contractor. In this regard he also submits that section 29 of the Act 24 of 2006 having used the words “ কান ব্যওিু ” he has locus standi to maintain a complaint against the petitioner-company who is nothing but an intruder to the tender process. Hence, submitting application on 26.12.2010 (Annexure-G) by the respondent No. 8, (the local agent of CGG veritas, France and a sub-contractor) to respondent No. 6 bringing notice to the said irregularity being allegedly committed by an inter polar, the petitioner company, in violation of rule 117 of the Rules, 2008 is obviously maintainable. However, receiving no response the respondent no.8 made complaint to respondent no.7 as well as respondent no.2 to take necessary action. The authority paid no heed to the same. In this connection drawing attention to the EOI (Annexure-D) submitted by BGP (Bangladesh) International he goes to argue that on a plain reading it is apparent that Petorbangla is rather solicitating participation of the said company in the tender process with a view to hand over the bid to the said company most unauthorisedly and thereby making an attempt to frustrate the principle of transparency, which is one of the objects for which Act, 24 of 2006 has been promulgated. Accordingly, he submits that the petitioner company having not participated in the bid (which has further been fortified from Annexure-B), establishing a branch office in Dhaka upon obtaining permission from the Board of Investment on 25.11.2009 (after the closing date of the bid dated 28.09.2010) and that being a separate entity from BGP (Bangladesh) International has no legal authority to submit REP. Considering the position of law and fact the Review Panel no.1, respondent no.3 has rightly declared BGP (Bangladesh) International as non-responsive. Accordingly, he submits that no interference is called for, rather declaring that the petitioner is not an aggrieved person within the meaning of Article 102 of the Constitution this Rule is liable to be discharged as being not maintainable with costs.
8. Mr. Mohammad Ashraf Uddin Bhuiyan, the learned Advocate appearing on behalf of the respondent No. 6, Petrobangla upon submitting a vokalatnama today adopted the submissions so has been advanced on behalf of the respondent no.8 and contended that till date no decision has been taken by the said respondent towards selecting the responsive contractor upon considering the REP as submitted by the short listed contractors.
9. In order to carry out a 2-D Land Seismic Survey involving about 3100 L km Data Acquisition including Data Processing and Interpretation and related services under Fast Track Programme Bangladesh Oil, Gas, Mineral Corporation (Petrobangla) issued notice on 17.09.2009 (Annexure-C) for Expression of Interest(EOI) to be submitted by the interested internationally reputed geophysical contractors having required qualifications, as stated therein, for short listing Seismic contractor/firm with supporting documents in support of the experience on or before 12:00 (BST) on 28.10.2009 in sealed envelop to the Director(Planning) Petrobangla, Petrocentre;3, Kawran Bazar, Dhaka, Commercial area, Dhaka.
10. In response, BGP (Bangladesh) International submitted its EOI allegedly without any date or signature stating, inter alia, that it was submitted by BGP (Pakistan) International and that “BGP (Pakistan) International” is responsive to receive and prepare tender bid package and make necessary arrangement to carry out the respective work. However, CGG Varitas, France also submitted EOI on 20.10.2009 (Annexure-I-A). At this juncture, Mr. Mahmud, the learned Senior Advocate submits that respondent no.8 cannot make a complaint before the respondent no.3 since it did not submit any EOI nor in the EOI CGG Varitas, France has been identified as a joint venture company with respondent no.8. Rather, in the subsequent letter dated 05.06.2010 (Annexure-I-D) CGG Varitas, France appears to have submitted proposal in association with 3(three) sub-contractors and respondent no.8 is one of those 3 (three).
11. However, CGG Veritas, France while issuing 2nd letter on the same date i.e., 05.06.2010 has introduced respondent no.8 as a sub-contractor contending, inter alia-,“Arneeb Enterprise, PBL Tower (11th floor), 17 Kemal Atanturk Avenue, Gulshan-2, Dhaka-1212, Bangladesh-Sub-Contractor. Enem Express Ltd., Chartered Accountant Bhaban (2nd floor), 100 kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Kawran Bazar, Dhaka-1215, Bangladesh-Sub-Contractor. Yean Tun Chinese, Thai & Indian Restaurant, 50,Tejkunipara, Airport Road, Tejgaon, Dhaka-1215, Bangladesh-Sub-Contractor.”
12. While narrating profiles of the respective contractors it has further been stated, inter alia-, “SUB-CONTRACTOR: ARNEEB Enterprise Arneeb Enterprise’s is a local company experience with more than 25 years in performing the job for supplying Casual Labour with foods subsidy & PPE with other various logistic supply to petrobangla and its various companies like BAPEX, BGFCL, SGFL and IOC’s like Shill, Occidental Unocal, Chevron and Tullow. Arneeb enterprise also works as agent and seismic crew supplier of CGG Veritas since 1980 for various Clients from IOC to NOC. Arneeb Enterprise amalgamated with N&N Corporation and UME under the same ownership is well known in hydrocarbon industry of Bangladesh for last nearly 30 years. Its access to highly skilled personnel translates into solutions that are both cost effective and of high quality thereby minimizing quality, which is the driving force behind its work.”
13. It, thus, reflects that earlier respondent no.8 also worked as an agent of CGG Varitas, France. However, for submitting EOI with regard to the international bid in question it has been identified as a “sub-contractor”. At this stage, the learned Advocate for the respondent No. 8 goes to argue that the interest of sub-contractor comes into play with the submission of REP. Since in the present case proposal has been submitted by CGG Veritas, France, respondent No. 8 has every right to restrain a stranger who at no point of time (before declaring the short listed contractors) participated in the process of the tender in question.
14. In order to understand the position of “sub-contractor” first we require to understand the position of the “Contractor”. The word “ঠিকাদার”, the Contractor, has been defined in section 2(10) of the Act no.24 of 2006 as has been adopted in rule 2(18) of the Rules, 2008, which provides as under-“ঠিকাদার’’ অর্থ এই আইনের অধীন কোন কার্য সম্পাদনের উদ্দেশ্যে ক্রয়কারীর সহিত চুক্তি সম্পাদনকারী ব্যক্তি।’’
15. In other words, a “contractor” means the person who has entered into a contract with the Procuring Entity to accomplish a work which has been undertaken under the Act No. 24 of 2006. The Act No. 24 of 2006, however, is silent about the definition of “sub-contractor”. The same has been defined in rule 2(56) of the Rules’ 2008, which is quoted herein below-‘‘সহ-ঠিকাদার (sub-contractor)” বলিতে চুক্তিবদ্ধ কার্যের কোন অংশ সম্পাদনের জন্য ঠিকাদারের সহিত চুক্তিবদ্ধ কোন ব্যক্তি বা বিধিবদ্ধ সংস্থাকে বুঝাইবে এবং নির্বাচিত স্থানে কাজও উহার অমত্মর্ভূক্ত হইবে।’’ (Emphasis given).
16. In other words a “sub-contractor” comes into play when a contract has been concluded with the Contractor and the Procuring Entity. Subsequent thereto a separate contract is executed between the “Contractor” and the “Sub-contractor” in order to complete the contractual works. However, rule 53 provides for appointment of a “Sub-contractor”, which runs as follows:- “সহ-ঠিকাদার বা সহ-পরার্মশক নিয়োগ।- (১) ক্রয়কারী, আদর্শ দরপত্র বা প্রসত্মাব দাখিলের অনুরোধ সম্বলিত দলিলে উল্লিখিত যথাযথ যোগ্যতা থাকার সমর্থনে প্রয়োজনীয় কাগজপত্র দাখিল করা সাপেক্ষে, কোন সরবরাহকারী, ঠিকাদার বা পরামর্শককে সহ-ঠিকাদার বা সহ-পরামর্শক নিয়োগের অনুমতি প্রদান করিতে পারিবে। (২) সহ-পরামর্শক হিসাবে কোন প্রসত্মাবে উল্লিখিত কোন প্রতিষ্ঠান (ভরৎস) একাধিক প্রসত্মাবে অংশগ্রহণ করিতে পারিবে, তবে উক্ত অংশগ্রহণ শুধু সহ-পরামর্শক হিসাবেই করিতে হইবে। (৩) দরপত্রে সুনির্দিষ্টভাবে উল্লিখিত সহ-ঠিকাদারের যোগ্যতা ঠিকাদারের যোগ্যতা মূল্যায়নে শুধু তাহার (সহ-ঠিকাদারের) জন্য নির্ধারিত কাজের ক্ষেত্রে বিবেচনা করা যাইতে পারে। (৪) সহ-ঠিকাদারের সাধারণ অভিজ্ঞতা এবং আর্থিক সম্পদ দরপত্রদাতার সাধারণ অভিজ্ঞতা ও আর্থিক সম্পদের সহিত যোগ করা যাইবে না। (৫) কোন আবেদনকারী যদি ব্যক্তিগতভাবে, বা যৌথ উদ্যেগের অংশীদার হিসাবে কোন প্রসত্মাব দাখিল করে, তাহা হইলে একই ক্রয় পক্রিয়ায় অন্য কোন আবেদনকারীর সহ-পরামর্শক হিসাবে তিনি গ্রহণযোগ্য হইবে না। (৬) সহ-ঠিকাদার বা সহ-পরামর্শক নিয়োগ সত্ত্বেও, সংশ্লিষ্ট ক্রয় চুক্তির অধীন পালনযোগ্য দায়-দায়িত্ব সম্পর্ণরুপে সরবরাহকারী, ঠিকাদার ও পরামর্শকের উপর ন্যসত্ম থাকিবে এবং উক্ত দায়-দায়িত্ব সহ-ঠিকাদার বা সহ-পরামর্শকের নিকট হসত্মামত্মর করা যাইবে না, বা কোন অবস্থাতেই চুক্তিবদ্ধ দায়-দায়িত্ব সহ-ঠিকাদার বা সহ-পরামর্শকের নিকট অর্পণের অনুমতি প্রদান করা যাইবে না। (বসঢ়যধংরং মরাবহ) (৭) মুখ্য সরবরাহকারী বা ঠিকাদার বা পরামর্শক তাহার সহ-ঠিকাদার বাসহ-পরামর্শকগনের ব্যবস্থাপনার জন্য দায়ী থাকিবে, এবং সাব-কণ্ট্রাক্টসমূহে ব্যাপরে ক্রয়কারীর পর্যালোচনা সাধারণত মুখ্য সরবরাহকারী বা ঠিকাদার বা পরামর্শক কর্তৃক সাব-কণ্ট্রাক্টসমূহ ব্যবস্থাপনাগত মূল্যানের মধ্যেই সীমিত থাকিবে।’’
In consideration of the said provisions of the Rules, 2008 we find no substance in the arguments so has been advanced by the learned Advocate for the respondent No. 8. Rather, we are of the view that the duties and responsibilities under the contract squarely lies upon the “Contractor” and under no circumstances can it be shifted to the “Sub-contractor”. Keeping that view in mind it was CGG Veritas, France, a short listed contractor, who was entitled to lodge complaint, if there be any, against BGP (Bangladesh) International. The said finding of ours is further fortified from section 29 of the Act no.24 of 2006 which provides the right to lodge complaint; “২৯। অভিযোগ করার অধিকার।- (১) কোন ব্যক্তি এই আইনের অধীন ক্রয়কারীর উপর অর্পিত দায়িত্ব পালনে ব্যর্থতার জন্য ক্ষতিগ্রসত্ম হইলে বা তাহার ক্ষতিগ্রসত্ম হইবার সম্ভাবনা থাকিলে তিনি উক্ত ক্রয়কারীর বিরুদ্ধে ধারা ৩০ এ বর্ণিত কর্তৃপক্ষের নিকট অভিযোগ দায়ের করিতে পরিবেন। (২) নিম্নবর্ণিত ক্ষেত্রে উপ-ধারা (১) এর অধীন কোন অভিযোগ দায়ের করা যাইবে না যথা:- (ক) পণ্য, কার্য বা সেবা ক্রয় পদ্ধতি নির্বাচন; (খ) কোন আবেদনকারীর সংক্ষিপ্ত তালিকাভুক্তির আবেদন প্রত্যাখ্যান; (গ) যে সকল ক্ষেত্রে নিম্নবর্ণিত সিদ্ধান্ত গৃহীত হইয়াছে-(অ) প্রাক-যোগ্যতার আবেদন, দরপত্র, কোটেশন বা প্রস্তাব বাতিল করিবার সিদ্ধামত্ম; বা(আ) সরকারী ক্রয় সংক্রান্ত মন্ত্রিসভা কমিটি কর্তৃক অনুমোদনের পরিপ্রেক্ষিতে চুক্তি সম্পাদনের সিদ্ধাস্ত।
17. Here, the important word is “ব্যওিু”, the person who may file complaint. The definition of “person” or “ব্যওিু” has been provided in section 2(23) of the Act no. 24 of 2006, as adopted in rule 2(41) of the Rules, 2008, which states as follows: “ব্যওিু অর্থ এুয় কর্মকান্ডে অংশগ্রহণে আগ্রহী ব্যওিু, ব্যওিুবর্গ, ব্যওিু মালিকানা প্রতিষ্ঠান, অংশীদার কারবার, কোম্পানী, সংঘ বা সমবায় সমিতি;”
18. In other words, persons are those who aspire to participate in the bidding process. Considering the said definition and the definitions of “Contractor”, and “Sub-contractor” the word “ব্যওিু” as appeared in section 29 of the Act can only go to mean the bidder (the “contractor”), not the “sub-contractor” since his interest comes to play when a separate contract is entered into with the contractor and the sub-contractor. That be the case, a complaint can only be maintained before the authority concern by the contractor, not the sub-contractor. As such, filing complaint by the respondent No. 8 is not maintainable in the eye of law.
19. The next issue which needs consideration is against whom the complaint may be made.
20. Rule 56 of the Rules’ 2008 protects the right to file complaint against “কান এুয়কারী ব্যওিু” on the ground as stated therein. Rule 56 is quoted herein below. “৫৬। অভিযোগ করার অধিকার।- নিম্নবর্ণিত ক্ষেত্রে বা পরিস্থিতিতে কোন ক্রয়কারীর বিরুদ্ধে আনুষ্ঠানিক অভিযোগ দায়ের করা যাইবে, যথাঃ- (ক) প্রাক-যোগ্যতা নির্ধারণের ক্ষেত্রে- (১) বিজ্ঞাপন প্রকাশিত হওয়ার তারিখে প্রাক-যোগ্যতার দলিল প্রস্ত্তত করা না থাকিলে বা সম্ভাব্য আবেদনকারীর অনুরোধে উহা প্রাপ্তিসাধ্য না করা গেলে; বা (২) সম্ভাব্য আবেদনকারীর স্পষ্টীকরণের চাহিদার পরিপ্রেক্ষিতে যথাসময়ে তৎসম্পর্কে ব্যাখ্যা প্রদান না করা হইলে; বা (৩) প্রাক-যোগ্যতার দলিলে উল্লিখিত নির্ণায়কের আলোকে মূল্যায়ন কমিটি যোগ্যতা মূল্যায়ন করিতে ব্যর্থ হইলে; বা (৪) প্রাক-যোগ্যতা নির্ধার অন্যায়ভাবে অস্বীক তি জ্ঞাপন করা হইয়াছে মর্মে ধারণা করিবার সঙ্গত কারণ থাকিলে ; বা দূর্নীতি বা চক্রামত্মমূলক কার্যকলাপ সম্পর্কে সন্দেহ হইলে। (খ) উন্মুক্ত, সীমিত, সরাসরি, দুই-পর্যায় ও কোটেশন পদ্ধতির ক্ষেত্রে- (১) প্রযোজ্য ক্ষেত্রে, বিধি ৯০ অনুসরণক্রমে বিজ্ঞাপন প্রদান করা না হইয়া থাকিলে; বা প্রযোজ্য ক্ষেত্রে, বিজ্ঞাপন প্রকাশিত হওয়ার তারিখে দরপত্র দলিল প্রস্ত্তত না হইয়া থাকিলে বা সম্ভাব্য দরপত্র দাতাবা কোটেশনদাতার অনুরোধে উহা প্রাপ্তিসাধ্য করা না গেলে; বা সম্ভাব দরপত্র দাতার অনুরোধে যথাসময়ে ব্যাখ্যা প্রদান না করা হইলে; বা কেবল একটি স্বল্পসংখ্যক প্রস্ত্তকারী প্রতিষ্ঠান কর্তৃক পূরণ করা সম্ভব, এইরূপ কারিগরি বিনির্দেশ প্রস্ত্তত করা হইলে ; বা প্রকাশিত বিজ্ঞাপনের শর্ত মোতাবেক, প্রযোজ্য ক্ষেত্রে, প্রাক-দরপত্র সভ্য অনুষ্ঠান করিতে ব্যর্থ হইলে বা উক্ত সভার জন্য পূর্ব নির্ধারিত তারিখ, স্থান ও সময় পরিবর্তিত হইলে যথাসময়ে উহা সম্ভাব্য দরপত্র দাতাগণকে অবহিত না করার কারণে সম্ভাব্য কতিপয় দরপত্রদাতা সভায় যোগদান করিতে সক্ষম না হই দরপত্র আহবানের বিজ্ঞাপণে প্রদত্ত বিবৃতি মোতাবেক দরপত্র উম্মুক্ত করিতে ব্যর্থ হইলে বা দরপত্র উন্মুক্তকরণের সময় অসঙ্গত আচরণ করা হইলে; বিশৃঙ্খলাভাবে পরিচালনার ফলে এক বা একাধিক দরপত্র নির্ধারিত সময়ের পূর্বেই উন্মুক্তক্রমে উহার গোপনীয়তা ফাঁসকরিয়া দেও প্রকাশ্য সভায় দরপত্র উন্মুক্তকরণে ব্যর্থ হইলে ; বা দরপত্র দাখিলের জন্যনির্ধারিত সময়ের পূর্বে প্রাপ্ত সক উন্মুক্তকরণ করা না হইলে ; বা মূল্যায়নকমিটি দরপত্র দলিলে উল্লিখিত নির্ণায়ককের আলোকেদরপত্র মূল্যায়ন করিতেব্যর্থ হই (১০) ক্রয়কারী কর্তৃক কৃতকার্য দরপত্রদাতার সহিত নিগোসিয়েশনের উদ্যেগ গ্রহণ করা হইলে (১১) দুর্নীতি বা চক্রামত্মমূলক কার্যকলাপ সম্পর্কে সন্দেহ হই((১২) ত্রুটিপূর্ণ বা অন্যায্যভাবে চুক্তি সম্পাদন করা হইয়াছে বলিয়া করিবার সঙ্গত কারণ থাকিলে ; বা (১৩) দুই পর্যায়বিশিষ্ট দরপত্র পদ্ধতি প্রয়োগের ক্ষেত্রে, প্রথম পর্যাদেরপত্র মূল্যায়নের সময় প্রত্যেক ব্যক্তির নিকট হইতে ব্যাখ্য গ্রহণের সময় গোপনীয়তা রক্ষার শর্ত লংঘন করা হইলে। (গ) প্রসত্মাব দাখিলের অনুরোধ জ্ঞাপনের ক্ষেত্রে- (১) কারিগরি প্রসত্মাবের খাম উন্মুক্তকরণের পর ক্রয়কারী গোপনীয়তা রক্ষা করিতে ব্যর্থ হইলে; বা (২) কারিগরি প্রসত্মাব উন্মুক্তকরণের সময় আর্থিক প্রসত্মাব খোলা হইলে ; (৩) প্রসত্মাব দলিলে উল্লিখিত নির্ণায়কের ভিত্তিতে প্রসত্মাব মূল্যায়ন কব্যির্থ হইলে ; বা
(৪) মূল্য যেখানে মূল্যায়নের একটি নিয়ামক (ভধপঃড়ৎ), সেইক্ষেত্রে নিগোসিয়েশনের সময় আবেদনকারীকে তৎপ্রসত্মাবিত ফিসের হার পরিবর্তনের জন্য চাপ প্রয়োগ করা হইলে ; বা
(৫) দুর্নীতি বা চক্রামত্মমূলক কার্যকলাপ সম্পর্কে সন্দেহ হইলে; বা
(৬) অন্যায্য ও পক্ষপাতিত্বপূর্ণভাবে চুক্তি সম্পাদন করা হইয়াছে বলিয়াধারণা করিবার সঙ্গত কারণ থাকিলে।’’
21. Initially the complaint was filed by the respondent No. 8 before the respondent no.6, the Procuring Entity, against BGP Inc., CNPC who is claiming to be the integral part of BGP (Bangladesh) International pursuant to letter dated 24.05.2010 (Annexure-F-1) contending, inter alia,-“We have been granted permission from the Board of investment (BOI) for opening a Branch Office in Bangladesh via BOI letter No BOI/R&1-1 (Com)/Branch/ 2935/09/2752 dated 25-11-2009 and 18 B permission from Bangladesh Bank via letter No. FEID/729/B960/2010-154 dated 25/01/2010 as BGP Inc. China National Petroleum Corporation BGP Inc. also registered with register of Joint Companies & Firms under No. F667 issue No. 34442-48 dated 25-02-2010 and Tax Identification Certificate from the Deputy Commissioner of Taxes No 176-201-8105/Coy-17 dated 20-05-2010. To comply with these permission BGP Inc. China National Petroleum Corporation has been working in Bangladesh as Branch Office at 69/1 New Circular Road, Malibagh , Dhaka. p-120 ”
22. However, on perusal of Annexure-D it appears that EOI has been filed by BGP (Pakistan) Internati-onal on behalf of BGP (Bangladesh) International. Along with the EOI the said company also submitted the documents of experience, capacity as well as the Articles of Associations of BGP Inc., CNPC.
23. In this regard, it is the emphatic contention of the petitioner-company that though there is some unintentional anomally in the cover page of EOI but said EOI consists of the entire volume of documents wherefrom it is evident that BGP Inc., CNPC. is, in fact, making the proposal and that before filing RFP the petitioner-company has duly sent a letter of clarification. It is fact that accepting such anomally, as is apparent from the records, respondent no.6 vide letter dated 11.04.2010 short listed 8 (eight) contra-ctors where CGG Veritas, France has been placed at serial no.4 and BGP (Bangladesh) International has been posted at serial No. 6. Neither CGG Veritas, France nor respondent no.8 within the four corners of it’s complaint raised objection against such short listing. The claim of the respondent no.8 squarely lies on the issue that since BGP (Bangladesh) International has been short listed as such RFP submitted by the petitioner-company on 10.06.2010 (Annexure-F) is unlawful, hence BGP (Bangladesh) International has been rightly declared as non-responsive.
24. As has already been noted above, a complaint cannot be made by a sub-contractor against a short listed contractor in view of rule 56 of the Rules, 2008. However, in this regard Mr. Nurul Amin drawing attention to sub-rule 9 of rule 56 submits that alleging non-evaluation of RFP as per law on possible conspiracy the instant complaint has been lodged hence, it fulfils the criterias as have been set out in the said provision. Sub-rule 9 of rule 56 comes into play when the Evaluation Committee fails to. The said stage has not reached yet. The issue being agitated by respondent No. 8 is presenting RFP by BGP Inc., CNPC for being a separate entity from BGP (Bangladesh) International. In view of the same the arguments so made by Mr. Amin is of no substance in the facts and circumstance of the case. The fact remains that Petrobangla considered the EOI of BGP (Bangladesh) International as appropriate, (Annexure-D) and short listed the same as contractor, whereas the Review Panel-1 declared the said contractor as non responsive on the count that BGP Inc., CNPC being a separate entity cannot file RFP. The said decision has been given without giving opportunity to BGP (Bangladesh) International to represent their part of the case.
25. The present writ petition has been filed by BGP Inc., CNPC Their claim is that they are the integral part of BGP (Bangladesh) International on the basis of certain documents, enclosed with the EOI and tried to clarify the ambiguity with regard to the name of the company since BGP (Bangladesh) International has been short listed
26. No doubt, there is serious anomally over the ambiguity of the petitioner-company who filed RFP, which is still lying pending before the Evaluation Committee for consideration and above all as per ITC clause 5.1 filing RFP is limited to short list contractors only. As such, since BGP (Bangladesh) International has been declared non-responsive the said short-listed contractor is the appropriate aggrieved person to maintain this writ petition, not BGP Inc., CNPC.
27. Be that as it may, the respondent no.8 being a “sub-contractor” it’s right and interest lies with the short-listed contactor CGG veritas, France who does not appear to have authorized the said respondent to file complaint to the concern authority against BGP Inc., CNPC in order to oust BGP (Bangladesh) International without making it a party. Hence, has no locus standi to maintain the complaint before the Review Panel-1, respondent No. 3.
28. The bid reaches its finality through stages; firstly, before the Procuring Entity, who selects the short listed contractors; then the RFP, submitted by those contractors, are evaluated by the Evaluation Committee “মূল্যায়ন কমিটি” and then it is finally approved by the Approval Authority, “অনুমোদনকারী কর্তৃপক্ষ” as defined in section 2(1) of the Act no.24 of 2006. In the present case, the Procuring Entity short listed 8 (eight) contractors and the RFP submitted by them are still lying pending for consideration before the Evaluation Committee, either to be declared responsive or non-responsive. Moreover, the allegation was against BGP (Bangladesh) International whose right to be declared responsive or non-responsive has been adjudicated and disposed of by the respondent No. 3 without making it a party and without issuing notice providing opportunity to defend it’s part of the case by adducing documents, which is a flagrant violation of the principle of natural justice.
29. In view of the facts, circumstance, observations and findings made above the impugned order dated 10.02.2011 passed by the respondent no.3 is declared to have been passed without lawful authority and hence, of no legal effect.
30. However, CGG Veritas, France, a short listed company is at liberty to file a complaint afresh, if so desires and the respondent no. 3 is hereby directed to adjudicate the complaint, if so made, upon giving proper notice to BGP (Bangladesh) International, in accordance with law.
31. With the above observations this Rule is disposed of. There will be no order as to costs.