Recommends recovery of money from officials, contractors

A six-member Legislative Assembly Committee has unearthed a multi-crore road works scam and found rampant corruption in the road execution works in the Magadi subdivision (Ramanagaram district) of the Public Works Department.

It recommended recovery of money from officials of the PWD and contractors for non-execution and poor quality of works.

The committee of the 13th Legislative Assembly, headed by Appasaheb Mallappa Pattanashetty, in its voluminous report, said three contractors — Kemparaju, Nanjaiah and Shankar — had grabbed 68 per cent of roads works in the division in connivance with PWD officials.

The report was tabled in the House on Friday.

All rules and regulations had been violated from issuing notification to tendering works in the Magadi subdivision in the last four years of the BJP government. H.C. Balakrishna of the Janata Dal (Secular) represents Magadi constituency in the current Assembly was also the member of the panel.

Internal Economic Adviser Govindaraju, who was also then ex-officio Special Secretary in the PWD, had released more funds than sanctioned directly to the Magadi subdivision by misusing his powers. The committee recommended action against Mr. Govindaraju.

The committee ordered recovery of Rs. 26.72 crore from contractors involved in the multi-crore bogus bill scam in the execution of State and district roads. This recovery pertains to payment made to contractors for non-existent works on State and major district roads in Magadi.

In 2011-12, 54 contracts were awarded to execute 1577 works. A total of 1,306 works were assigned to 28 contractors. A sum of Rs 31.92 crore was released to the three contractors.

The report highlighted overpayment, violation of Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act in awarding tenders and creation of bogus bills — in some instances multiple times for the same works — in the execution of culverts, drains, roads, sanitary works and community halls among others.

It said advertisements for inviting tenders were published in newspapers in Gulbarga, Belgaum and Hubli editions to ensure limited participation of contractors.

All level of officials in PWD were responsible for the major misuse of funds. The Finance Department too was responsible for gross violation of norms in the execution of works, the report said.

The House committee was set up by the previous BJP government following then Opposition Leader Siddaramaiah’s demand for a probe.

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