Chennai: S.P.Velumani, minister for local administration and rural development, has informed the Madras high court that he is in no way involved in the process of formulation of criteria in the various tender documents, the tender process and the ultimate grant.
Minister S.P.Velumani stated this in his counter affidavit filed in response to the petitions filed by Arappor Iyakkam, an NGO and R.S.Bharathi, the organizing secretary of DMK, alleging misappropriation of funds by him in the award of tenders.
A division bench comprising Justices M.Sathyanarayanan and N.Seshasayee before whom the petitions came up for hearing on Friday, granted time till December 18 to the Superintendent of Police, DVAC, to complete the preliminary enquiry into the complaints alleging misappropriation of funds by state local administration minister S.P.Velumani.
Narrating the procedure followed by the corporation while floating a tender, in his counter, Velumani submitted that he has not interfered in the process of grant of tenders which were subject matter of this petition or “have I been involved in any manner whatsoever with the formulation of the criteria in any of the tender documents relating to either Coimbatore municipal corporation or the Chennai municipal corporation or their ultimate grant”. Given the fact that no other contractor has challenged the grant of tenders impugned in the present petition on the ground of lack of fair play or level playing field, the petitioner cannot ask for a roving enquiry into the entire process of grant of tenders more so as he did not participate in the process of grant of tender. This will show the falsity of the allegations made in the present petition. The petition has been filed with a malafide intension to gain publicity. It also appears to have been engineered by a rival political party, he added.
He said he has been tirelessly worked as a Cabinet minister towards improving the lives of the people of Tamil Nadu and under his initiative, numerous schemes have been launched for the benefit and welfare of the people. He has been a loyal worker of the AIADMK party and its supreme leader late J.Jayalalithaa under whose rule, the state had seen progress on several fronts and whose schemes have benefited large sections of people, he added.
He said in so far as the allegations in the petition relating to M/s Senthil & Co which was run by his brother Anbarasan Palanisamy were concerned, his brother has been a registered contractor with the Coimbatore municipal corporation since 1999 and had been executing projects long before he became an MLA and purely on the basis of track record in executing projects. The allegation that he secured projects on account of the fact that he was his brother was baseless and denied. Ever since he became an MLA, he has ceased to have any business interest with any entity much less business entities mentioned in the petition, he added.
Denying the allegations made in the petition that one Rajan Chandrasekhar was functioning as his political aid and also denying the allegation that either Rajan or Chandrapraksh were his close associates, he said he did not have interest in the entities or “do I have close links with these entities and the persons as alleged in the petition”.
Vehemently denying the allegation that he had allegedly rigged tenders floated by the government of Tamil Nadu and thereby allowed/formed a cartel/syndicate and ensured that other bidders were prevented from participating in the tender process and prevented a level playing field from operating, he said, “I am not a Director, shareholder or partner in any of the entities cited by the petitioner or have any interest in the above entities. Grant of tenders in the state is regulated by the procedure envisaged under the Act and Rules and I have had no role in the process of grant of tender as any person is free to uphold a bid online and selection is subject to scrutiny of technical and financial parameters”.
During the hearing, senior counsel N.R.Elango and advocate V.Suresh appearing for R.S.Bharathi and Arappor Iyakkam respectively submitted that the complaint was given one and half years ago, but still the preliminary enquiry has not been completed. Preliminary enquiry means they have to find out whether prima facie case was made out or not. If prima facie case was made out they have to register FIR and then conduct investigation, they added.
Producing the status report in a sealed cover, public prosecutor A.Natarajan submitted that the allegations made in the petition were not supported by any materials. Without any proof they come to the court to gain publicity. As far as tenders were concerned, it was online tenders, anybody can participate. If two people participate, it was not the fault of the government or corporation. Investigation was pending. It requires lot of investigation. Electronic experts have given different opinion regarding IP address. Even for preliminary enquiry, there was no material, he added.
Advocate general Vijay Narayan submitted that now this court has entrusted the enquiry to SP, monitored by the director, DVAC. Enquiry was going on in the right way. Since large volume of work involved, it requires some more time, he added....