IRB a murderer', in collusion with HMDA, says BJP's Raghunandan

Hyderabad: BJP MLA M. Raghunandan Rao on Thursday accused unnamed officials of IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd, the company with a 30-year contract for toll collection on the ORR, of murdering an RTI activist for questioning the company’s actions.

“The CBI probe into the killing of the RTI activist is proof that IRB will go to any extent to silence anyone who questions it,” Raghunandan Rao said, addressing a press conference.

“We have approached the CBI to probe the award of the contract for collecting toll on Hyderabad’s Outer Ring Road. This is a company that was once blacklisted and we believe awarding of the contract to IRB is a result of massive corruption,” the BJP MLA said.

The company has been in the spotlight after the HMDA allotted the ORR contract to it, with Opposition political parties alleging financial misappropriation in collusion with ministers and questioning its links with a Singapore-based company to which it has sold a stake in the project.

Raghunandan Rao, who previously raised red flags over IRB getting the contract, said the company was “running around banks for a loan to close the deal but is reportedly not making any headway because of the controversy.”

He reiterated his demand for the cancellation of the contract, saying there was no explanation from the government or Special Chief Secretary of MA&UD Arvind Kumar on how the tender amount of IRB was increased from ₹7,272 crore to ₹7,380 crore.

“KTR once told his officials to ‘react swiftly and sack those responsible for this tamasha’ when an ORR user tweeted that IRB was issuing manual receipts for toll. That was over a complaint on a toll receipt for ₹16. Here, the loss to the state is more than ₹1 lakh crore,” he said.

The BJP leader alleged that the HMDA was colluding with the company to silence those questioning the deal.

“Why were so many relaxations given to IRB? Why was a standard clause in all such contracts of the awardee depositing a part of the contract amount removed? What were the reasons behind a 15-day silence by HMDA after the tenders closed and the announcement was made about the contract being given to IRB?” he asked.

Raghunandan Rao said instead of losing more than ₹1 lakh crore over the 30-year period, the government could have set up a corporation and raised a loan for ₹7,380 crore. “It said it will build a ₹6,500 crore Metro Rail line from Gachibowli to the airport by taking loans. The ORR gives daily returns of more than ₹1 crore. The government could have easily obtained a loan,” he said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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