ISLAMABAD The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed its surprise in the LNG import contract case, saying how a company not included in the bid had been awarded the contract. Justice Chaudhry Ijaz in his remarks said that the record shows the bidding process was not transparent while the Chief Justice in his remarks urged for making policies in the best national interest. A three-member SC bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chau-dhry, Justice Chaudhry Ijaz Ahmed and Justice Ghulam Rabbani, heard the suo moto case regarding giving short-term import contract of Liquefied Natural Gas on exorbitant rates. During the LNG irregularities case hearing, J.A. Sabri, Special Secretary Ministry of Petroleum, had confirmed irregularities in the bidding process. He could not satisfy the court that the French company GDF, which was awarded the contract, had not tendered bid neither the firm had expressed interest in the bidding for LNG import contract. Sabri told the court that Paris-based utility GDF Suez and Shell Pakistan (SPL) did not attend the Expression of Interest for short-term LNG project. He told the court that Sui Southern Gas wrote a letter on May 4, 2009 to the Petroleum Minister to award the LNG contract to Shell. He further said Fauji/VITOL informed via fax about the offer of 2 million tonnes of gas at 9am in January 2010, in which the price was cut. The offer of Fauji/VITOL was not included in the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC). The bench observed in its remarks that the negotiations could be held only with those who participated in the EoI, asking Sabri weather Fauji/VITOL was apprised of the fact that their offer was not taken up. Sabri responded in negative. The Chief Justice remarked how the negotiations could be held with those who did not attend the bidding. He said five companies were given notices for the Mashal Project. The court said when a sixth company was included for the project; an advertisement should have been published for the purpose. It is relevant to mention here that as per the report, on which the court took suo moto notice, senior officials of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources awarded the contract to the highest bidder, ignoring the lowest bid jointly offered by Fauji Foundation and multinational energy firm Vitol. The further proceeding of this case would continue today.