Congress alleges graft in Zojila tunnel contract, Gadkari rejects charge

Gadkari dismissed the allegations as “completely false” and said the ministry followed a transparent e-tender system. He also denied that his son was a director in IRB Infrastructure Developers.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:January 12, 2016 4:01 am
Lohegaon airport expansion, nitin gadkari, Lohegaon airport, AAI, AAI Nitin Gadkari, pune news Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari.

The Congress on Monday alleged corruption in a Rs 10,500-crore contract awarded by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, headed by Nitin Gadkari, to IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd for construction of Zojila Pass tunnel project in Jammu and Kashmir, a charge the minister denied.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has written to the Prime Minister demanding that the matter be referred to the CBI. He also met Central Vigilance Commissioner and sought action in the matter.

Addressing reporters at the Congress headquarters, Singh claimed Gadkari had close links to the Mhaiskar family, promoters of IRB group. “In the past, they have invested crores in companies of Gadkari family and Nikhil Nitin Gadkari, son of Nitin Gadkari, was shareholder and promoter director in Ideal Energy Projects Ltd of IRB Group,” he wrote in his letter to the PM.

“I also submitted (to CVC) and enclosed details of this company Ideal Energy Project Ltd, a subsidiary of IRB Infra Developers Ltd where Nikhil Gadkari is a shareholder from 2009-11 and after 2011 he withdrew and sold his share,” Singh said. He alleged there had been “violation of the established practices in the tendering procedures as (according to) guidelines which have been formed by CVC, the whole tender of Rs 10,000 crore has been awarded to a single bidder which is unheard of… If there was a single bidder, the procedure of Swiss Challenge should have been adopted.”

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“This is a clear case of corruption at the highest level and I demand that Gadkari be sacked if the PM believes in controlling corruption in his government,” he said, adding that the company does not have experience in high-altitude tunnel construction.

According to PTI, Gadkari dismissed the allegations as “completely false” and said the ministry followed a transparent e-tender system. He also denied that his son was a director in IRB Infrastructure Developers.

“No work in our department is awarded without e-tender. I do not favour anyone,” he said.

“My son is not a director in that company… there is no shareholding. There is no connection with the company. Such false allegations have been levelled several times. I was given clean chit by the Income Tax Department during his government only. I don’t have a single rupee of business with it…,” Gadkari said.

He said only one party had bid for the project earlier and this time also there was only one party and the award was on the basis of a global tender and “no favour” was given to any party.

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  1. A
    Arun
    Jan 12, 2016 at 1:31 pm
    Nitin Gadkari has always been a fraud. He is there because he plays the second fiddle for Mohan Bhagwat. He was involved in controversies such as Bribing Voters just before the 2014 Maharashtra embly Elections, Yogita Thakre's death on 19 May 2009, Benami investments in Purti Group and Loan from contractor firm IRB. In early 2013, in the elections for BJP president, for which Gadkari was "close to clinching a second innings"[35] his chances unravelled with several senior leaders suggesting that the I-T indictment of the Purti groups investments had damaged his image,[36] and Gadkari was not re-elected.[37] Gadkari told the Times of India that he was stepping down until the inquiry proved him innocent. Subsequently, Gadkari threatened the I-T officers, saying "when our party comes to power, there would be no Chidambaram or Sonia to save them (IT officialsThe I-T officers ociation took umbrage at these remarks and demanded an apology.
    Reply
    1. C
      Chang Jie
      Jan 12, 2016 at 5:26 am
      Ye bekar ka tunnel hai - cancel kar do ! tunnel to jehan num ! Kya benefit hai iska ? too costly.
      Reply
      1. A
        ASHOK KUMAR
        Jan 12, 2016 at 10:18 am
        Funds going to BJP and RSS.
        Reply
        1. I
          india corruption
          Mar 31, 2016 at 1:31 am
          All tunnel contracts in the JandK and Arunachal Pradesh border regions should be handled by BRO (Border Roads Organization). This includes the Zojila and Z-morh tunnels (similar to the Rohtang tunnel). It seems pointless to hire laborers for constructing strategically important tunnels who "strike" for petty things or for every small rhyme or reason. Where is mechanization/automation in all this tunnel construction. The 58KM long Gothard Train Tunnel (under the swiss alps) which just started operating, took 19 years to finish and it was technically extremely challenging. How is it tunnels in the JandK region which are orders of magnitude smaller (Rohtang = 9KM, Z-morh = 6.5KM and Zojila = 10KM) take more time to finish.
          Reply
          1. M
            mumbikar
            Jan 12, 2016 at 8:53 am
            gadkari is a known crook, esp in his home state.
            Reply
            1. E
              Eric
              Jan 13, 2016 at 3:44 am
              NO DOUBT NITIN GADKARI IS THE BEST PERFORMING MINISTER IN BJP GOVT. WHICH CONGRESS PARTY WILL HAVE TO ACCEPT EVEN CONGRESS DOES NOT HAVE SUCH A GOOD PERFORMING LEADER BUT ONLY LOOTERS. IF THESE ALLEGATION BY DIGVIJAY SINGH WHO IS A CONGRESS YES MAN, ARE TRUE THAN GADKARI SHOULD PROVE HIMSELF IN THE COURT OF LAW OUR CONDUCT A FAIR IMPARTIAL CBI INQUIRY. GIVEN THAT IN THE PAST HE HAD BEEN IMPLICATED IN SIMILAR KIND OF SCENARIO AS A BJP PRESIDENT.
              Reply
              1. R
                rajan luthra
                Jan 15, 2016 at 10:03 am
                BJP is a party, bathed in cow milk. Isn't it?
                Reply
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