According to a report published in ET, international consultancy firm McKinsey 'unofficially' helped out the urban development ministry in preparing the groundwork for the Rs 7,000-crore project and one of its consultants even authored a key tender document for the selection of the consultant.
The firm too bid for the tender and was apparently working on a bid when the tender was scrapped on March 9, barely 48 hours before the closing date, these people said.
The National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), which is responsible to implement the project, revealed the role of McKinsey in the project.
NIUA also released tender seeking request for qualification cum request for proposal on February 17. The document was uploaded on the NIUA website and a cursory look at the Word file's properties showed McKinsey consultant Amit Gupta as its author.
The tender was cancelled after the ministry and NIUA received several complaints about the 'conflict of interest' and that the document would benefit McKinsey.
NIUA Director Jagan Shah was quoted by ET saying that he received calls and messages pointing out the possible conflict of interest, but said there was no written complaint. It was withdrawn since the "requirements for the project changed radically and the goalpost got shifted", Shah said.
He said the document was written by "a Young Turk from McKinsey" and couldn't confirm whether McKinsey would have been kept out of the bidding process.
An urban development ministry spokesman couldn't say whether McKinsey would apply or not when the government releases a new document, with new specifications.
As reported by ET according to urban development ministry spokesman, there was no conflict of interest "yet" since the old tender had been cancelled and the new one had not come out. "So, whether McKinsey would apply or would have applied is speculative as of now," the official said.