Shivakumar demands probe by House committee into tender scam

1 month ago 19

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BJP Govt. is free to probe tenders during my term as well, says Siddaramaiah

With the BJP Government unlikely to order a judicial probe into the allegations of the Karnataka State Contractors’ Association on payment of kickbacks of up to 40% of the project cost to government officers and elected representatives to get their dues cleared, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D.K. Shivakumar has now demanded the constitution of a committee of both the Houses of the legislature to ensure transparency in the probe.

The Congress had demanded a probe from a Supreme Court judge into the alleged tender scam in the State. “However, the State Government will not order a judicial probe. Let them order the probe from the House committee with the ruling party legislator as its chairman and a majority of its members,” said Mr. Shivakumar.

During session

Mr. Shivakumar said the party would expose the alleged tender scam in the coming session of the State legislature next month. He demanded that the Government order probe into tender works executed during the last 10 years, which included the Congress, JD(S)-Congress coalition, and BJP Governments, to punish those who looted the public money.

In July, the contractors’ association wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that contractors in the State were forced to pay a bribe of up to 40% of the project cost to government officers and elected representatives to get their dues cleared in departments such as Public Works, Major and Minor Irrigation, and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Engineering, and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike.

Following Chief Minister’s instructions, Chief Secretary P. Ravi Kumar has now asked heads of major departments to scrutinise tenders and conduct inquiry into any irregularities reported in the tendering process.

Speaking in Mysuru on Saturday, the former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah dismissed the probe by secretaries of the respective departments as an “eyewash”. He too said that the probe could cover the previous Congress regime if the ruling BJP so wished. The BJP Government was free to bring even his tenure between 2013 and 2018 under the ambit of the probe, he said. However, he insisted that only a judicial inquiry by a Supreme Court judge could bring the guilty to book.

The president of the contractors’ association, which is a registered body having more than one lakh members, had not only written a letter to the Prime Minister, but had also addressed a press conference on the issue, he said.

Referring to the demand by BJP leaders that such corruption was prevalent even during his regime as Chief Minister, Mr. Siddaramaiah said the contractors’ association had not written any such letter during his tenure.

The former Chief Minister, who is also the Congress Legislature Party leader, said the Congress had met Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot and demanded the dismissal of the BJP Government.

‘PM should intervene’

“It is a fit case for invoking Article 356 of the Indian Constitution and imposing the President’s rule. This Government is not eligible to remain in power,” he claimed, before adding that the Prime Minister to whom the association had complained too should act by either dismissing the Government or atleast order a judicial probe.

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