Upper Bhadra project work picks up pace

BSY allegedly received kickbacks to award contract

in the spotlight The Upper Bhadra project work underway.

An estimated Rs 322 crore has been spent on the project so far.

It is alleged that the two firms promoted by the sons of B S Yeddyurappa, had received a total kickback of Rs 13 crore from the company which bagged the contract to implement the Rs 1,042-crore irrigation project.

A Lokayukta court has ordered the police to book a case against Yeddyurappa under the Prevention of Corruption Act, based on a private complaint filed by JD(S) leader Y S V Datta, who had alleged that the contract was awarded to a joint venture (JV) company led by RNS Infrastructure, despite an expert committee pointing out flaws in the cost estimation. Jyothi Ltd, a partner in the JV, has been blacklisted by the Himachal Pradesh
government, he alleged.

The complainant has alleged that Murudeshwar Power Corporation, a sister concern of RNS, paid Rs 13 crore to Dhavalagiri Property Developers Ltd (Rs 11 crore) and Sahyadri Health Care and Diagnostics Pvt Ltd (Rs two crore) promoted by Yeddyurappa's sons Raghavendra and Vijayendra, soon after the contract was awarded in 2008.

In 2006, when the project was first conceived, it was estimated to cost Rs 550 crore. But when the government awarded the contract, the cost had shot up to Rs 1,042 crore.

According to official sources, RNS Infrastructure, the lead partner, dropped Jyothi Ltd as its JV partner and roped in ABB in 2009. The project commenced in March 2010, and it is expected to be completed in three years’ time.

No lapses

K B Chaluvaraju, project Chief Engineer, Chitradurga division, denied any lapses in awarding the contract.  

All necessary procedures have been followed, he said. “The project cost was evaluated by an expert committee,” he added.

Facts ‘n’ figures

* Govt has spent about
Rs 322 crore on Upper Bhadra project so far
* Contractor implementing the project, despite allegations of lapses in awarding the contract
* Nearly 20 per cent of the work is complete
* Officials claimed there are no lapses and hence, no need for re-tendering the project

Rivalry exposed lapses

But for the bitter rivalry among the contractors, alleged lapses in awarding the project would not have come to light.

Sources said one of the contractors, who unsuccessfully bid for the contract, was instrumental in exposing the lapses. The contractor’s bid was rejected by Karnataka Niravari Nigam Limited. Hence, the contractor ensured that all details pertaining to the contract were made public.

Sources said the politician-contractor nexus is very deep as far as Water Resources and Public Works Departments are concerned. The party in power awards multi-crore projects of these departments only to those contractors who have close affiliation to it.

The contractor, who exposed the scam, has close ties with one of the Opposition parties, sources said. It is not only Yeddyurappa, but many politicians had faced allegations of irregularities in the past. The list of these politicians includes JD(S) chief H D Deve Gowda.

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