Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday directed state home department officials to lift the restriction on the CBI entering the state and also ordered a review of contracts awarded during the previous TDP regime to find if any irregularities were involved.
The restriction was imposed by former CM N Chandrababu Naidu in November after he accused the BJP of using the agency to harass TDP leaders. The TDP government had withdrawn the “general consent’’ given to the CBI to conduct operations in the state following raids on businesses and firms of several TDP leaders.
Officials said the move to allow the CBI indicates that if irregularities are found in the award of contracts by the TDP regime, Jagan won’t hesitate to seek a CBI probe against Naidu and his colleagues in the previous government.
YSRCP’s Rajya Sabha MP S Vijay Sai Reddy said, “The YSRCP government will root out corruption from all departments. Those who indulged in corruption in the previous regime should beware…”
Among the contracts Jagan has ordered to be reviewed are the contract to Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd to execute Polavaram Project, Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Limited for the Pattiseema Lift Irrigation project, contracts to various firms for work relating to the new capital and sand mining contracts awarded in all districts.
The YSRCP government has also cancelled several contracts signed after April 1, 2019. “The contracts were worth thousands of crores and even a cursory glance reveals a lot of irregularities. We have cancelled all those projects signed after April 1 which are yet to be grounded. The works that have already started are under scrutiny,’’ senior YSRCP leader Botsa Satyanarayana said.
“Polavaram, Pattiseema and other huge projects will be scrutinised. Our aim is not to just cancel or object to projects but to find out at what rates the contracts were awarded, if there was any favouritism in spite of higher rates etc,’’ Satyanarayana added.
Sources said that Jagan is likely to appoint a retired judge to scrutinise the projects.
The Polavaram Dam project was originally awarded to Transtroy India Ltd, owned by former TDP MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao. However, former CM Naidu was unhappy with the slow pace of work and sought the Centre’s permission to replace Transtroy.
When new bids were invited, bidders quoted an estimate of Rs 1,483 crore, about Rs 500 crore more than the contract with Transtroy. However, Navayuga Engineering offered to take up the works at the old rates. On January 30 last year, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari agreed to handover the project to Navayuga which is executing the project as per schedule. The company is at present executing worth worth Rs 3,400 crore under the Polavaram project.
It is learnt that Jagan is of the opinion that since the project is centrally-funded, it should be handed over to the Centre to be constructed under its supervision. “Funds are also likely to be released quickly if it is under the Centre’s supervision. The government will discuss this with the Centre soon,’’ a CMO official said.