CBI probe sought into award of tenders for TransGrid project

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Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 24 (IANS) Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala on Tuesday slammed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for his response to the 10 questions raised by him regarding the contract executed with big companies in the Transgrid project of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), worth Rs 4,572 cr and also demanded a CBI investigation into the matter.

Speaking to the media here, Chennithala said that he has been after this issue for a while now and slammed Vijayan who had said that all this is being raised because of the Pala by-election.

“I went through the answers he had given me and it’s a shabby reply, deviating from the real issues. This is going to go down as one of the biggest corruption cases in the history of Kerala and since in this project there has been the involvement of external agencies, we demand that Vijayan should announce a CBI probe into this,” said Chennithala.

The Transgrid project involves drawing fresh electric lines and according to Chennithala in this project the KSEB has increased the estimate to favour big contractors.

“All the basic rules of tendering have been violated and work has been awarded wherein there has been 60 to 80 per cent increase from the original cost. Pre-qualification guidelines were changed to favour certain companies. This is an all round corrupt deal, never witnessed in the state before,” said Chennithala.

He pointed out that this project is being funded by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) and here too if one looks into the way the work was awarded, the basic checks and balances have not been followed.

When it was pointed out that it was a woman chief engineer of the KSEB who had earlier clarified that everything was done according to the rules and procedures, Chennithala shot back by saying how can we take that as the last word, “that’s why I am demanding a CBI probe and if this happens, a few people will be cooling their heels in jail.”

Vijayan had replied saying that for Chennithala, levelling baseless allegations has become a habit and no one is interested in hearing his frequent allegations.

With the Pala by-election now over and five more assembly by-elections scheduled for October 21, this issue is certainly going to be raised by Chennithala again.

–IANS

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