Revanth orders probe into ORR tender irregularity

Investigation likely to be handed over to CBI

Hyderabad: Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy on Wednesday ordered a comprehensive probe into the alleged irregularities in awarding tenders for the Outer Ring Road to IRB Infra, done by the previous BRS government in May 2023, and said a decision will be taken soon to hand over the case to the CBI or another Central investigation agency.

At a review meeting with the HMDA at the Secretariat on the day, the Chief Minister expressed his anger over the finalisation of tender at a low price, causing huge revenue loss to the state government.

He questioned HMDA officials why tenders were called for without fixing a minimum price, and said that a thorough investigation would reveal the culprits, warning that none would be spared.

HMDA joint commissioner Amrapali Kata was asked to submit complete details about the irregularities in the tenders, procedures followed and the movement of the files during the tender process. Officials were also asked to file police complaints against colleagues or other employees if any file regarding the ORR tender was missing.

“After receiving a full report from HMDA, the government will discuss it in the Cabinet and hand over the issue for a probe to the CBI or the equivalent probing agency,” Revanth Reddy said.

In the review meeting, HMDA officials apprised Revanth Reddy that before toll tenders were called, revenue from ORR was `600 crore per year, following which the Chief Minister questioned officials why they had finalised a tender for “meagre” `7,800 crore given that `18,000 crore revenue was estimated for a 30-year period.

He said that the government incurred a loss of `15,000 crore due to the process adopted by the HMDA, wherein only two companies had filed tenders and one of them was selected.

The Chief Minister also ordered officials to investigate the transactions of the company which won the tender, and later by showing the contract agreement made with the state government, handed over 49 per cent of its shares to foreign companies.

In May 2023, Revanth Reddy, the TPCC chief, accused the BRS government of resorting to huge corruption in ORR toll tenders. He termed the tendering process a “big scam”, claiming that `1,000 crore changed hands in the lease transaction. He vowed to investigate the ORR toll tenders issue if voted to power.

Then MA&UD special chief secretary and HMDA commissioner Arvind Kumar issued legal notices to Revanth Reddy in May 2023 for levelling corruption charges against him, following which Revanth Reddy had warned Arvind Kumar to withdraw legal notices and accused him of acting as a politician and not as an IAS officer.

Revanth Reddy had alleged that Arvind Kumar did not provide the information he had sought under RTI on ORR toll tenders and did not respond to his repeated requests for information.

After Revanth Reddy assumed office on December 7, 2023, he shunted Arvind Kumar from MA&UD and HMDA within 10 days, posting him with the disaster management revenue.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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