PTI | | Posted by Pathi Venkata Thadhagath
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday said his government has ordered an investigation into the alleged scams that have taken place during the previous BJP government and it is not proper to release payments of the civil contractors’ pending bills till the probe is completed.
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The chief minister noted that the state government has ordered a judicial inquiry led by retired high court judge Justice B Veerappa. “Before the Assembly elections we had promised to investigate the corruption scandals of the BJP government if the Congress party came to power,” Siddaramaiah said in a series of posts on “X” (formerly Twitter). He added that the voters of the state believed in the Congress party and voted against BJP’s “corruption, commission abuse, tax looting” and helped his party win 135 out of 224 seats in the assembly and allowed it to form a “safe and stable” government. Now it is the duty of the government to keep the promise made to the people, Siddaramaiah said, adding, “We have ordered a judicial investigation led by retired judge Justice B Veerappa into the 40 per cent commission scam of the BJP government.” The chief minister alleged that during the BJP government, the bills of civil contracts were paid for the old works without carrying out the work itself and in some other places half the work was done.
“The judicial committee headed by retired Justice B Veerappa is investigating all these scams and it is not reasonable to release the outstanding bill money before the investigation report is complete. Our government will not allow injustice to any contractor who has done the work fairly. Contractors need not fear this. But shouldn’t those who did corruption pay for it?” he said. He also took a swipe at former minister R Ashoka who on Thursday alleged that the Congress government was collecting 15 per cent commission for releasing payments to contractors “The charge of 15 per cent commission leveled by former minister R Ashok against our government is far from the truth but it is good that he has reduced the commission rate from 40 per cent to 15 per cent. This statement of Ashoka shows that in his mind the Congress government is better than the BJP government,” the chief minister said. “Accepting the allegations against us as a challenge, we will win this ordeal and prove to the people of the state that we are not only good, but also the best, transparent and pro-people government,” Siddaramaiah added. Regarding the allegations of the contractors that release of payments to their bills were held back allegedly due to non-payment of 15 per cent commission on public works, Siddaramaiah said that already the Karnataka State Small and Medium Contractors and BBMP Contractors Association has discussed the issue of pending bills with him.
He said instructions have been given to release the Programme Of Works (POW) related bill. This money will be released as soon as certain normal processes related to release of works bills are completed. In the meantime, the Karnataka State Small and Medium Contractors and BBMP Contractors Association has clarified to the media that only a few contractors are accusing the state government for their “selfish and malicious” purposes, Siddaramaiah claimed.