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Prosecutor can't pinpoint main accused in flyover case

By Our Staff Reporter

CHENNAI, JULY 19. The `flyover scam case' today witnessed a curious twist, when a Special Public Prosecutor informed court that he could not say who was the main accused.

In the course of arguments on the anticipatory bail petitions of two of the accused, the Principal Sessions Judge, Mr. S. Ashok Kumar, wanted to know who was the main accused in the case. The SPP, Mr. A. Raghunathan, replied ``I cannot pinpoint and say so and so was the main accused or not,'' sparking laughter in the court hall.

(The judge reserved orders on the anticipatory bail applications of Mr. Raja Shankar and Mr. N. Raghavan for July 23).

When Mr. Ashok Kumar asked about the status of a complaint lodged with the Chief Minister and the then Governor by some Corporation councillors, Mr. Raghunathan said he was not aware of the ``details of the said report''. In fact, he obtained a day's adjournment yesterday, with an assurance that he would bring the details of the status of the `report'. Had any complaint been registered following the report to the Governor and the Chief Minister, the FIR would have reached the court also, Mr. Raghunathan said. To this, the judge said, ``even in this case the FIR copy did not reach this court in time''.

Opposing anticipatory bail to Mr. Raghavan, the SPP said the petitioner's company (L&T Ramboll) had received Rs. 1.2 crores for submitting a project report, which contained purchase details in which he had quoted ``astronomical figures''. He also claimed that L&T Ramboll was a sister-concern of L&T, which had bagged the flyover construction contract eventually.

Differentiating between the two firms as per the Companies Act, the Senior Counsel for the petitioner, Mr. Chandru, pointed out that employing a consultancy firm of repute was a prerequisite for the World Bank funding the flyover project.

Denying that any conspiracy existed at that stage, he said L&T Ramboll quoted Rs. 120 lakhs, as against Rs. 298 lakhs and Rs. 713 lakhs by the other participants. Since only nine of the proposed 11 flyovers had been constructed, the final fee was negotiated and the L&T Ramboll received Rs. 1 crore as consultancy fee.

``The consultancy was with respect to the design, expected quantities to be used in the project and the quality of the products to be procured for the project,'' Mr. Chandru noted.

Counsel for the second petitioner wanted to know how Mr. Raja Shankar was connected with the alleged conspiracy, and how was his role different from that of Dr. N. S. Srinivasan, who had already been enlarged on bail by the court. Mr. Raja Shankar was engaged only on an honorary basis, and he was not dealing with the monetary aspects of the project, he said, adding he was not present in any of the two committees exclusively formed to monitor and implement the flyover project.

Earlier, the prosecution agreed to relax certain bail conditions for Dr. Srinivasan, who was now staying in Bangalore as per the conditions. However, if his interrogation was required, he would be informed a week in advance.

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