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"Congress received kickbacks in Rs 2,500 crore scam," alleges Karnataka BJP, demands CBI probe

By Anusha Ravi
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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has alleged that the Congress in Karnataka has indulged in a Rs 2,500 crore "commission scam". Former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Wednesday claimed that tenders from slum development board for projects under Pradhana Mantri Awaz Yojana (PMAY) were fraudulently given to corrupt contractors for a kickback of Rs 250 crores.

The allegations of corruption come ahead of the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018 when Siddaramaiah is promoting his "non-corrupt" governance as one of his party's USPs. "We suspect that money received as kickback by awarding illegal tenders will be used for election expenses by the Congress. Rs 250 crore- 10 percent of the total money allocated for constructing houses for 50,000 people- has been given as kickback to Housing minister Krishnappa, his son Priya Krishna and MLA R V Devaraj," alleged K S Eshwarappa, leader of opposition in Karnataka Legislative Council.

BJP's allegations of "Rs 2,500 crore commission scam"

The BJP has alleged that Rs 2,500 crore allocated under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) to construct 50,000 houses across the state has been misused. Tenders to construct houses in urban areas were called on September 12, 2017, and January 5, 2018, by the slum development board. The BJP has alleged that tenders called on September 12, 2017, were stayed since irregularities were found in the process. However, the same tenders were assigned to "favourable contractors" despite an official order to stay the same, according to the BJP.

"99 packages were approved under the scheme but the same was reduced to 43 packages while the budget of Rs 2,500 crore remained unchanged. Despite the huge budget, short-term tenders were called by slum board officials and 10 contractors were given tenders. Fake 'work done" certificates were obtained fraudulently through single tender to allot work to ineligible contractors," Jagadish Shettar of the BJP alleged.

The same, the BJP alleges, was scrutinised by Chairman of the board who reported discrepancies and asked for the tenders to stay via an order dated December 22, 2017. "Despite a pending inquiry, the tenders were given to the same contractors after kickbacks were given to the housing minister. Since this scam was committed over a central government scheme, we demand a CBI inquiry into the same," Shettar said.

The BJP produced a letter written by Congress MLA Devraj as evidence to back their claims of tenders being rendered illegal. The BJP has raised questions over the Congress' claim of being a corruption-free clean government.

Karnataka Assembly Election dates
Date of notification April 17
Last date to file nominations April 24
Last date to withdraw nominations April 27
Date of polling May 12
Date of counting May 15

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