Graft charges in redevelopment project haunt Shivraj again

Bhopal, April 8 (IANS) Alleged corruption in a redevelopment project here, which raised the opposition’s hackles in 2012, is haunting the Madhya Pradesh government again as two news websites said on Wednesday that rules were flouted to award the Rs.7,000 crore contract.

The state assembly had been rocked in December 2012 when the opposition had alleged massive irregularities in the deal involving 15 acre of land at posh T.T. Nagar here.

For the construction of a central business district, land was allotted to private company Gammon India at a cost of Rs.315 crore, but another company Deepmala Infrastructure came into the picture, the then leader of the opposition Ajay Singh had said in the assembly.

The government also changed the lease hold to fee hold in the favour of Deepmala, incurring a huge loss of Rs.2,000 crore to the state exchequer, he had said.

The opposition had then demanded a CBI inquiry into the land deal, while the government said there was no wrongdoing.

On Wednesday, a joint investigation by news websites Cobra Post and Janta Ka Reporter said the deal actually amounted to “a huge scam worth Rs 7,000 crore under the nose of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan”.

Citing documents obtained through RTI, the websites said, “The whole bidding process was conducted in a partisan manner to benefit Gammon India and its so-called SPC (special purpose company) Deepmala Infrastructure”.

While the lease deeds were signed without holding Gammon India or Deepmala Infrastructure accountable, the government cut the circle rates for this particular project almost by half while making the prime land freehold again as recently as July this year while it had to rescind a similar order in 2012 before the Madhya Pradesh High Court, said the websites.

They found that Deepmala had, in fact, been promoted by two individuals, Manoj Chamoli and Rekha Chamoli, on 3 October, 2007, six months before the tender process began, with a capital of Rs.1 lakh only.

Gammon India bought 51 percent stake in the company almost overnight. The ownership of the company was transferred to Gammon India between April 10 and 16, 2008. A day after, Gammon India accepted the contract and declared Deepmala Infrastructure its SPC.

Soon thereafter, a tripartite development agreement was signed between the state government, the Commissioner of the MP Housing Board and Deepmala, said the two websites.

“Interestingly, this agreement was neither registered nor notarised, and hence carries no legal validity in a court of law,” they said.

“To top it all, the agreement does not bear the name of any of Deepmala directors. It neither mentions that Deepmala is an SPC of Gammon nor does it mention any MoU or agreement between Gammon and Deepmala.”

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