Kochi: Former Public Works Minister Ibrahim Kunju on Friday said he had exercised his discretionary power of a minister as part of government policy in ordering mobilisation advance to the contractor entrusted with the construction of Palarivattom flyover. The former minister made a subtle change in his comment on the subject while speaking to reporters at his residence in Kochi.
Earlier Mr. Kunju was of the opinion that payment of mobilisation advance was a routine matter and he had only signed the file placed before him. He made a change in that position while answering questions that payment of mobilisation advance was not part of the agreement with the contractor. In reply he said it was taken using the discretionary power of a minister and cited a Supreme Court verdict in support of his claim. He has iterated payment of mobilisation advances has been a policy followed by successive governments in the state.
Mr. Kunju also said that he had not received any notice from the vigilance to appear for further questioning. The payment of `8.25 cr to RDS projects as mobilisation advance is one of the major charges leveled by the vigilance team investigating the alleged corruption in the construction of Palarivattom flyover against former PWD secretary T.O. Sooraj. Mr. Sooraj in a bail petition filed in the high court said the decision to make the payment was made by the then minister Mr. Kunju. He also stated that former RBDCK managing director Mohammad Hanish made the recommendation for making the advance payment.