Office of construction major IVRCL at Hyderabad raided

The CBI has registered a case against the Collector and Special Secretary of Puducherry G. Ragesh Chandra and others in connection with alleged irregularities in the implementation of the tsunami rehabilitation project.

While searches were conducted on the premises of Mr. Chandra at Puducherry on Tuesday, a special team of the CBI's Anti-Corruption Branch raided the office of construction major IVRCL at Hyderabad on Wednesday and reportedly seized documents pertaining to the case, sources in the agency said.

Based on specific intelligence inputs that large-scale irregularities had taken place in the construction of 5,400 houses under the tsunami rehabilitation programme, the CBI launched a preliminary investigation.

“The allegation is that the work was awarded to a construction firm in violation of established tender rules. There is information that sub-standard materials were used in the construction of the houses that are nearing completion. The estimated loss to the exchequer is to the tune of several crores. After prima facie evidence was made out, we registered a case,” a top CBI official told The Hindu on Wednesday.

He said though the case pertained to the construction of the housing project, the scope of investigation might extend to other tsunami rehabilitation programmes. “The case was registered against Mr. Chandra, who is the Director, Project Implementation Agency.

The expertise of Central Public Works Department has been sought in the investigation. Samples of concrete and other materials taken from the houses that are nearing completion will be sent for quality analysis,” the official said.

Stating that an Executive Engineer of Puducherry and the IVRCL Company were also named in the FIR, he said the names of others involved in the suspected scam would be included during the investigation. The housing project for Puducherry was sanctioned in 2005.