Staff Reporter

Former KSEB staff accused of corruption in power project’s construction

Kozhikode: The Kozhikode Vigilance Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge on Tuesday granted bail to the accused in the Rs.50-lakh corruption deal in the construction of the Chinese-aided Urmi small hydroelectric project in the district.

Special Judge M.K. Kuttikrishnan granted bail to four former employees of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and two partners of the company, contracted for the project. The case has been posted to September 18.

Those granted bail were KSEB former assistant engineer M. Kunhiraman, former assistant engineer M.S. Suresh, former deputy civil engineer R. Satyadas and former sub engineer R.V. George and the Nagpur-based Aarati Engineering Company partners Benny Gopal and K.S. Mandana. The third accused, former executive engineer C.V. Davis, died before the charge-sheet was filed.

The Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau (VACB) had submitted the charge-sheet before the Vigilance court in May. According to the charge-sheet the KSEB officials had entered into a conspiracy with the contractors resulting in a loss of Rs.50 lakh to the State exchequer.

The charge-sheet stated that the compound wall and the approach road were not built under approved norms. The wall and the generator were destroyed in rain in July 2004, resulting in a loss of Rs. 49.27 lakh and Rs 1.25 lakh, it said and attributed the damage to faulty construction procedures.

The works began in 2001. The expenditure incurred in the first phase was Rs.12 crore and in the second phase, Rs.10 crore. The project was commissioned in January 25, 2004. However, the lower part of the canal linking to the dam developed cracks and collapsed resulting in heavy loss to crops. The power generation came to a halt with the destruction of the generator at a later stage.

Lok Ayukta’s directive

A local action committee filed a complaint before the Lok Ayukta, alleging corruption in construction activities. The Lok Ayukta sought an explanation from the KSEB authorities. The KSEB, however, contended that the accident was due to natural calamity.