The tender notification of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Fourth Paradigm Institute (FPI), Bangalore, for acquiring a supercomputer has run into rough weather with the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday staying the opening or finalisation of the bids following an allegation that tender conditions were formulated to favour a few companies. Justice A.S. Bopanna passed the interim order on a petition filed by Netweb Technologies, New Delhi, which claims to be a leading supplier of supercomputers in India. The court also ordered notices to the CSIR-FPI, the Union Ministry of Science and Technology and the Central Vigilance Commission.
The petitioner complained that the tender for supply and installation of the “Accelerator based Simulation-cum-Data Generation High Performance Computing (HPC) System” (a supercomputer with a speed of 500 teraflop) was invited “with an obvious purpose to eliminate the petitioner and save other tenderers who have found favour with the CSIR-FPI.”
Two new conditions, which were not stipulated in the expression of interest, were added in the tender document. The stipulations — that original equipment manufacturer should have at least five systems in the latest top 500 supercomputer list and that the bidders should have a financial turnover of minimum Rs. 50 crore per annum for the past three years — were added after the pre-qualification process, the petitioner said.