Corruption charges by contractors to be probed: Bommai

Karnataka CM orders probe into corruption charges made by contractors

The complaint claims contractors are 'harassed' by ministers and others who demand up to 30% of the tender amount for approving a contract

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bomma. Credit: DH Photo

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said Thursday that he has ordered a probe into kickback charges levelled by contractors in their letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

This came on a day the Opposition Congress met Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot and asked for President’s rule to be imposed on the state for “failure of constitutional machinery” and “rampant corruption”.

Bommai said he has asked Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar to inquire into allegations made by the Karnataka State Contractors Association in its letter to Modi dated July 6 this year.

“I don’t know why [the contractors] wrote to the PM, but I have asked the chief secretary to probe all the allegations they have mentioned in their letter. Heads of departments will scrutinise everything and if there are any culprits, action will be taken. I have especially asked for a scrutiny of tenders that were finalised after my government came into existence,” Bommai told reporters. 

The contractors’ association, in their letter to the PM, complained that they had to pay 25-30 per cent of tender amounts to elected representatives. They also accused ministers of harassing them to pay 5 per cent before the tender is approved and work order issued. Plus, they claimed that they had to pay percentage-based kickbacks at various other levels. They have specifically named PWD, Irrigation, RDPR, BBMP and Health departments. 


Bommai pointed out that the association had not mentioned any specific case. “It is a generic letter. Still, I have ordered a probe. How much more transparent can it get?” 

The CM also pointed out that earlier this month the Cabinet decided to constitute a committee to review government tenders for projects that cost Rs 50 crore or more in an attempt to prevent exaggeration and escalation of prices.

“I have also directed authorities to put in place measures to auto-generate bills and to ensure that tenders are processed within the fixed schedule,” he said. 

Meanwhile, a Congress delegation led by senior leaders Siddaramaiah and D K Shivakumar urged Gehlot to invoke Article 356. “...there is rampant corruption, maladministration...which has caused loss of several thousand crores to exchequer and the same has been swallowed by some of the ministers, MLAs, MPs and officials,” the party stated in its petition to Gehlot. 

The Congress sought a judicial probe by a sitting Supreme Court judge on the charges levelled by contractors and irregularities unearthed in the BDA.

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