'Corruption has reached its peak': Karnataka Contractors' Association threatens to stop all ongoing work for a month

The association had brought the corruption issue to the notice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi a few months ago

Shankar RajUpdated: Thursday, April 14, 2022, 07:05 PM IST
article-image
'Corruption has reached its peak': Karnataka Contractors' Association threatens to stop all ongoing work for a month | Twitter/@NikhilaHenry

Bengaluru: The stink of corruption in Karnataka is now out in the open. The alleged suicide of contractor Santosh Patil over bribe demand by Minister for Rural Development KS Eshwarappa has snowballed with Karnataka State Contractors’ Association confirming that bribery for release of bill amounts is rampant in the state. The association has threatened to stop all ongoing work for a month to protest what they claimed were “continued” demands for kickbacks from various government departments.

Association chairman D Kempanna and other office-bearers have threatened to release documents to show corruption “by five to six ministers and 20 lawmakers” if chief minister Basavaraj Bommai does not, within the next 15 days, end graft involved in awarding tenders for developmental works and clearance of bills.

“Corruption has reached its peak under this government,” Kempanna alleged. “The entire government, including the chief minister’s office is involved in the commission racket. The ministers and MLAs are directly demanding 40% commission for awarding tenders for government works. They have appointed area-wise agents to collect commission. This must end immediately. ”

The association had brought the corruption issue to the notice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi a few months ago. “Unfortunately, we did not receive a response from the PM’s office. We wrote six letters to chief minister Basavaraj Bommai. He also did not take any action. We have no option but to protest,” Kempanna said.

He said the association has evidence to back its claims of corruption, but fear reprisals from BJP functionaries if they go public with it. “We will produce all the evidence if an independent probe is carried out by a retired Supreme Court judge,” he said.

Contradicting Eshwarappa's claim that neither a tender nor a work order was awarded for road work which Patil had allegedly carried out in Belagavi, Kempanna said it has been a practice for years to execute civil works under rural development and panchayat raj department without a tender or work order.

“It is not new. Even now hundreds of piecemeal works of all departments are going on in villages without tenders or work orders. It’s an unwritten rule and happens at the behest of the minister and officials,” said.

Kempanna said the practice began “decades ago” due to a necessity to complete work in emergency situations. “For example, during floods or other natural calamities, certain rehabilitation works need to be carried out immediately without waiting for a lengthy tendering process to be completed,” Kempanna said.

In such situations, contractors are told to complete the work while tenders are floated later. He said the department ensures the particular contractor bags the tender.

“Unfortunately, what was meant for emergency situations is being misused by ministers to keep their supporters [contractors] happy,” they said.

Meanwhile, after much persuasion, family members on Wednesday took possession of the body of Santosh Patil.

A senior police officer said: “The family decided to take the body after we convinced them that arrests will not happen immediately since the law will take its own course. We also told them to take the body as two nights have passed, and the body has begun to decompose.”

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

Free Press Bulletin: Top 5 news updates of May 28, 2022; watch video

Free Press Bulletin: Top 5 news updates of May 28, 2022; watch video

Navi Mumbai: NMMC sees over 100 new cases of Covid in last four days

Navi Mumbai: NMMC sees over 100 new cases of Covid in last four days

Navi Mumbai: NMMC floats tender for setting up of waste-to-energy plant

Navi Mumbai: NMMC floats tender for setting up of waste-to-energy plant

Jacqueline Fernandez gets court permission to travel abroad for IIFA Awards amid Sukesh...

Jacqueline Fernandez gets court permission to travel abroad for IIFA Awards amid Sukesh...

Asia Cup hockey: India down Japan 2-1 in Super 4 league tie, avenge pool defeat

Asia Cup hockey: India down Japan 2-1 in Super 4 league tie, avenge pool defeat