Navayuga engineering, overlooking many controversial projects, is a big feature in EB lists

The company has been associated with more failed, delayed or accident-struck projects in the country.

Credit : Indie Journal


Navayuga Engineering Company Limited (NEC), a flagship company of Navayuga Group, has been flagged in the news since the day the electoral bonds data came forward. The company that purchased bonds worth Rs 55 crore in 2019 and 2022, all encashed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is the company that built the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi (Uttarakhand) that had collapsed on November 12, 2023, trapping 41 workers for over 16 days. However, this was not the only project by Navayuga that turned out to be controversial.

A glance at different news reports over the last few years and the projects that the company was responsible for has revealed that the name has been associated with more failed, delayed or accident-struck projects in the country. Yet it continued to get new important government projects.

While NEC featured in the news after the Silkyara tunnel collapse, months before that, a mishap during the construction of a viaduct, it was responsible for, had killed several workers and a few engineers. On August 2, 2023, a girder launcher weighing over 700 metric tonnes collapsed from a height of 35 metres on the under-construction Samruddhi Expressway near Sarlambe village in Shahapur taluka of Thane district. The incident killed 13 labourers, two engineers and five employees of a Singapore-headquartered private company.

The Singapore-based company, VSL India Ltd, was contracted by the NEC to launch the viaduct using specialised launchers. Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) that had given the work for the 2.29-km viaduct was given to Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd.  An FIR was registered against the sub-contractors of Navayuga Engineering Company Limited and VSL Private Limited.



Apart from this, news reports show that Navayuga was also given the contract for Project Varsha, a highly classified Indian Navy defence project on the East Coast, in 2017. The original date for project completion was August 2021, which was later extended. However, Navayuga failed to meet the deadlines. In 2023, the Ministry of Defence ended their contract with Navayuga and started looking for new contractors.

The Ministry alleged that Navayuga showed no seriousness to complete the project, while Navayuga justified the delays calling the given deadlines unattainable, amid the preparatory work required on the East Coast and Covid pandemic. Navayuga is locked in an ongoing arbitration demanding compensation after termination. It had also approached the Delhi High Court seeking to stop authorities from invoking or encashing seven bank guarantees it had paid after bagging the project.

Navayuga has also been under the scanner of the Income Tax (I-T) Department, and analysis by several news organisations has already highlighted the links between dates of the I-T raids on Navayuga and the dates when the company purchased electoral bonds.

On October 26, 2018, Navayuga headquarter in Hyderabad was raided by a 20-member team of the I-T Department, in cases pertaining to money laundering and tax evasion. Six months later, on April 18, 2019, just a week after the Lok Sabha elections had begun, the company purchased electoral bonds worth Rs 30 crore.

A few months later, On October 10, 2019, NEC bought another bunch of electoral bonds worth Rs 15 crore. These came a couple of months after the newly elected YSR Congress government in Andhra Pradesh stripped the company of the contract for Pllavaram Dam Project citing large scale irregularities in execution and missed deadlines. The new government also suspected irregularities in the transfer of contract from the original bidder of the project to NEC, at the behest of the previous Telugu Desam Party, which was in power in the state along with Jana Sena Party and the BJP. In October 2019, the Andhra Pradesh High Court dismissed NEC’s plea against the AP government’s decision.



Despite coming in news for irregularities and missed deadlines, NEC continued to bag high profile projects across the country. In 2020, the company was awarded the Rs 2,072 contract for Rishikesh-Karnaprayag Rail Link Project by the Centre. It is also responsible for the construction of the challenging Missing Link Twin Tunnels on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. This project will link Khopoli and Kusgaon on the existing expressway bypassing Khandala Ghat’s hairpin turns.

It was in June 2018 that the NEC signed a Rs 853.79-crore contract with the Centre to build the Silkyara tunnel on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode. It was part of the Central Government’s Char Dham All Weather Accessibility Project. Despite the Silkyara tunnel blunder, no FIR has been lodged against NEC.

Navayuga also purchased another tranche of bonds worth Rs 10 crore October 10, 2022. They were also encashed by the BJP.


Why is this important?

Several infrastructural companies are on the list of the purchasers of electoral bonds, revealed by the State Bank of India (SBI) last month. Most of them have exclusively donated to the ruling BJP. While the Modi Government has boasted of bringing in more infrastructural projects, including some deemed world’s ‘longest’, ‘largest’ and so on, the dates of electoral bonds purchases linked with the benefits received by the infra companies in the form of projects, raises suspicions, especially when several of these companies have been marred with irregularities.