Apex court orders fresh bidding for Super Bazar revival


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Thursday ordered a fresh bidding process to choose the appropriate party to revive Super Bazar, a once-popular cooperative store in the heart of the capital, as plans to give the old landmark a new lease of life received a setback.

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A bench of Justices S.H. Kapadia and S. Sudarshan Reddy ordered for calling fresh bids after an irreconcilable dispute cropped up between India Potash Limited and Indian Labour Cooperative Society, which earlier had jointly bagged the award for its revival.

India Potash had bid for the takeover of Super Bazar jointly with Indian Labour Co-operative Society, as it could have been taken over only by a cooperative society as per the existing provisions of the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act.

The two had bagged the award after private sector behemoth Reliance Industries pulled out of the race as it wanted to have exclusive control and did not want any interference by the government or a cooperative society.

Reliance Industries wanted the government to amend the law to give it effective control, but the government expressed its inability and the firm pulled out.

The offer then went to the joint bidder – India Potash and Indian Labour Cooperative Society.

After the bid was allotted, the central government, which had waived off Super Bazar’s Rs.1.2 billion liability, wanted Indian Potash to deposit Rs.600 million with the Supreme Court to ensure that it does not back out of the deal.

As per the government’s wish, endorsed by the Supreme Court, the company deposited the money along with Rs.50 million as earnest money in the court treasury.

But Indian Potash wanted Indian Labour Cooperative Society to share its financial burden. The latter, however, refused to contribute saying that it had no money for the purpose.

The court Thursday tried to resolve the differences between the two parties, but after both stuck to their respective stand, the apex court ordered for calling fresh bids, involving new parties as well within four weeks.

It also asked Indian Potash to take back its money deposited with the apex court treasury within three weeks.

Super Bazar had been closed down in 2002 after it incurred heavy losses due to mismanagement and rampant corruption while under government control.

The Super Bazar Karamchari Dalit Sangh and others had filed an appeal in the apex court against a Delhi High Court judgment dismissing their plea for directions to the government to revive Super Bazar.