Staff Reporter

Opposition calls for a CBI probe

Corruption alleged in award of tenders

A case of sabotage, says Mayor

Kozhikode: The city Corporation council has urged the State government to order a probe by the Crime Branch- Criminal Investigation Department into the malfunctioning of the floodlights at the E.M.S Corporation Stadium here.

A resolution in this regard was adopted at the meeting of the council here on Monday. However the Congress-led Opposition members disagreed with the proposal and demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the whole episode right from the awarding of the contract to a Gurgaon-based Space Age Switch Gears company. They also staged a walked-out of the meeting.

Mayor M. Bhaskaran, who chaired the special council meeting in the afternoon said the council was in favour of any inquiry. But demanding a CBI inquiry was practically impossible. However, the Congress which was in power at the Centre could initiate a CBI probe. As of now the council could only seek a Crime Branch inquiry into the incident, he said.

Mr. Bhaskaran also said that the council suspected sabotage behind the malfunctioning of floodlights during the football matches of the ONGC I-League.

The distribution board linking the cables had been tampered with resulting in the short circuit. The electrical section of the Public Works Department had submitted a report in this regard, he said.

Heated discussions were witnessed between the Opposition members and the Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) councillors at the meeting that lasted nearly four-and-half-hours.

Trouble with tenders

P. Kishenchand of the Janata Dal (Secular) of M.P.Veerendrakumar faction said that the Corporation had awarded the contract for installing the floodlights to a firm that had quoted a higher rate than other bidders including Philips Electronics India Limited.

He alleged that Rs.5.12 crore was swindled in the deal.

However, the Mayor pointed out that Philips had indeed quoted lower rates than Space Age during the awarding of contract. But the former had not adhered to the tender procedures and requirements. The State government and the High Court of Kerala had endorsed the decision taken by the Corporation, he said.

Four companies including Bajaj Electricals Limited responded to the tenders invited by the Corporation on January 8, 2008. Cricketer Kapil Dev’s Dev-Musco, which did not comply with the tenders, was disqualified from a list of bidders.

Match interrupted

The floodlights at the stadium were recently inaugurated. However trouble started with the matches of the ongoing ONGC I-League tournament.

The third match between Viva Kerala and Air India on Thursday had to be postponed on account of failure of the floodlights. The match between Viva Kerala and JCT on January 16 had to be called off due to glitches in functioning of floodlights.