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.