India

‘Graft in projects due to defections’

Linking ‘corruption’ in irrigation projects to defections to the ruling party, the Telangana Congress said Paler MLA Upender Reddy was the contractor of canals linked to Kondapochammasagar that breached twice within a few days of inauguration.

At a press conference, TPCC president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, CLP leader Bhatti Vikramarka, former Ministers - Nagam Janardhan Reddy and Shabbir Ali, and TPCC vice-president Mallu Ravi said the contract of the canals was given to Mr. Upender Reddy and TRS MLC Karne Prabhakar through a leading engineering company, which executed major works in the State and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. Congress MLAs were lured with such gifts, he alleged. Mr. Upender Reddy, who was elected on the Congress ticket, joined the TRS.

Mr. Uttam Reddy said the casual statements of the Engineering-in-Chief Hari Ram that such breaches are normal is shocking.

These canals are constructed with cement and not with mud like earlier, he reminded, and said officials are least bothered about quality as people at higher places are directly involved in corruption.

The TPCC chief alleged that none of the files related to contracts in the Irrigation Department are being signed by Chief Minister K. Chandrasehkar Rao. He claimed that Muralidhar Rao, an engineer who retired seven years ago, and a relative of the Chief Minister, is managing the files as Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao wants to escape from any enquiry in future.

Similarly, another relative of the Chief Minister was allegedly given contracts worth ₹10,000 crore, though his company did not have any experience in irrigation before 2014.

“I am accusing the Chief Minister directly of indulging in corruption through retired persons and his relatives, and he should respond,” Mr. Reddy demanded.

Mr. Vikramarka alleged that Congress MLAs who defected to TRS were given gifts in the form of contracts and this incident expose such nexus. He said such acts were worth an enquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and demanded that cases should be filed by the vigilance department now. The government is plundering the State resources and indulging in acts that question the very survival of democracy, he claimed.

Mr Shabbir Ali said the party would expose the list of MLAs who defected from Congress and secured such contracts.

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