Tender kickback row hits ruling BJP in K’taka, Bommai orders probe

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Tender kickback row hits ruling BJP in K’taka, Bommai orders probe
Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who is facing yet another challenge of defending his government on major allegations of forcing contractors to pay off 40 per cent kickbacks, has ordered a comprehensive probe into the matter.

The matter has become complicated as the complaint has also reached the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) close on the heels of sensational allegations on the Bitcoin scandal finding their way to the said office.

Karnataka Contractors’ Association has shot off a letter to the PMO alleging that they are being “tortured” by politicians and bureaucrats for 40 per cent kickbacks in all major projects of various government departments.

A delegation of the Congress leaders led by state President D.K. Shivakumar and Opposition leader Siddaramaiah met Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot on Thursday and demanded for invoking the President’s Rule in the state alleging rampant corruption.

The delegation also cited the letter shot off to the PMO office with 40 per cent kickback allegations by the Contractors’ Association and previous charges levelled against the ruling BJP by Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Minister K.S. Eshwarappa during the present government and BJP MLA Basavanagouda Patil Yatnal during the tenure of B.S. Yediyurappa.

“Two committees headed by retired Judges would be constituted to scrutinise the tender estimates and conditions in accordance with the decision taken by the state cabinet, Chief Minister Bommai said.

“The Chief Secretary has been instructed to take appropriate action if any irregularities have been committed in the tender process. I have instructed for special scrutiny into the tenders which have been finalised after I assumed office as the Chief Minister,” he stated.

“I have ordered for bringing a system that generates the bills automatically based on the work executed by the contractors and the seniority. Tenders should be completed within the set timeframe as any delay gives scope for suspicion,” he said.

Any irregularities in the tender process would come out during the scrutiny. Though the recent letter written by the contractors to the Prime Minister in this regard does not contain any specific information, a probe has been ordered to ensure transparency, Bommai said.

According to sources, the PMO has sought an inquiry into the allegations and the inquiry is being ordered as per the instructions from the Central government.

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