New Delhi: Russian energy minister Sergey Shmatko’s 2-hour meeting with Indian government officials on Tuesday to resolve contractual disputes and bribery probes into Technoprom Exports over supply of boilers to NTPC Ltd’s Barh project ended inconclusively. NTPC refused to budge from its earlier stand that the matter should be resolved through adjudication.
Those who attended the meeting included Union power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, union power secretary Anil Razdan, petroleum minister Murli Deora and NTPC chairman and managing director R.S. Sharma.
No headway: Power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. B Mathur / Reuters
“There is a stalemate,” said a senior power ministry official who did not wish to be identified.
The Russian government is holding up India’s request for a stake in the Sakhalin-3 oil field until contractual disputes and bribery probes into Technoprom Exports and Power Machines over supply of boilers to NTPC Ltd are resolved, as reported by Mint on 23 November. “We have been trying to arrive at a conclusion in an attempt to secure a stake in Sakhalin-3,” said a petroleum ministry official who did not want to be named.
The Technoprom saga involves the Rs8,700 crore Barh power project in Bihar. Work on the project has virtually come to a standstill following contractual disputes between NTPC and Technoprom, with the Russian supplier demanding more money for the equipment, citing higher steel prices.
Complicating matters is a probe involving CBI as well as Interpol over alleged bribes paid for the boiler supply contract.