Congress denies charges; BJP stages dharna against the graft

There were heated exchanges between the councillors of the ruling Congress and Opposition BJP over the issue of alleged corruption in issuing tenders on already completed works at the general body meeting of Udupi City Municipal Council (CMC) here on Saturday.

Raising the issue, M.R. Pai, Leader of the Opposition, said that CMC Commissioner Srikant Rao had in his report to the Assistant Commissioner accepted that of the 37 works for which tenders had been called, 15 were already completed. This was a gross violation of rules and a clear case of irregularity, he said.

This lead to a war of words between the Congress and the BJP councillors, with the former saying the charges were baseless. The councillors trooped into the well of the house to support their respective arguments.

CMC president P. Yuvaraj said as Assistant Commissioner S. Yogishwar was probing the issue, the CMC would await his report and act according to his recommendations.

Mr. Yuvaraj said that one of councillors who sought advance works was BJP’s Vasanti Shetty (who was absent in Saturday’s meeting) for her Ambalpady ward. “Since there was merit in what she sought, we sanctioned it. Why don’t you ask her?” he said.

Ramesh Kanchan, councillor, said that there were several instances of advance works being sanctioned when the BJP was in power in Udupi CMC for last 45 years. “Surely there cannot be one rule for us and one rule for the BJP. If the BJP has proof, let them show it,” he said. Amidst the din, Mr. Rao said that tenders had not been called for already completed works.

Mr. Yuvraj also dismissed as baseless the allegations that he was “weak” and “being remote controlled” by a former Congress CMC vice-president.

Dharna

Meanwhile, members of the district unit of the BJP staged a dharna in front of the Udupi CMC office on Saturday over the tender irregularities.

Speaking on the occasion, former CMC president Kiran Kumar said a detailed probe should be conducted into this scam. CMC president P. Yuvaraj had proved himself to be incompetent; the State government should transfer the CMC Commissioner and supersede the council, he said.

He alleged that MLA Pramod Madhwaraj and other Congress councillors were running the council and Mr. Yuvaraj did not have a free hand in administration. Technical and administrative sanction of the council was required to carry out the works, and a written note – and not verbal instruction – of the CMC president and the CMC Commissioner was essential, he said.

More In: Mangaluru