The Bharatiya Janata Party accused the Karnataka government of usurping funds to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore in a commission scam.
Former Chief Minister Jagdish Shettar claimed that tenders from the Karnataka Slum Development Board for projects under the Pradhan Mantri Aawaz Yojana were given to some select, corrupt contractors. He also alleged the government received 10% kickbacks of up to Rs 250 crore.
He demanded that a Central Bureau of Investigation probe should be initiated to look into the issue.
The commission scam has been alleged in connection with the construction of 50,000 houses by the Karnataka Slum Development Board.
Tenders to construct houses in urban areas were called on September 12, 2017, and January 5, 2018, by the Slum Development Board. Jagdish claimed that the tenders called in September were stayed after irregularities were found in the process.
He added that the tenders were assigned to âfavourable contractorsâ, in spite of an official order to stay the issue.
âIn spite of the huge budget, short-term tenders were called by the officials at the Slum Board and the tenders went to 10 contractors, including Chandregowda, Nagaraj and Prasanna. The government made sure that they got the tenders through a mutual understanding between them. They did not have âwork doneâ certificates and obtained it in a fraudulent manner,â said Shettar.
They specifically named NP Balraj from the Karnataka Slum Development Board as a conspirator in scam. Attempts to reach the official were unsuccessful.
The BJP leader produced a letter written by Congress MLA Devraj on December 22, 2017, as evidence to back their claims of the tender process being compromised and rendered illegal.
The allegations of corruption come just months before the Karnataka Assembly Elections set for May this year. The BJP raised questions over the Congressâ claim of being a corruption-free government.
Officials at the Karnataka Slum Development Board denied that there were any discrepancies in the tender process. "It has happened according to the law, and anyone can file RTI and examine it for themselves. We have also called a re-tender process âŚ The allegations are far from the truth," said NP Balraj, Technical Director of the Karnataka Slum Development Board. "We have filed a defamation case against a channel before for spreading the same allegations,â he added.
This was the second time in two days that Shettar levied charges of corruption against the ruling Congress government.
On Tuesday, speaking at a press conference in Hubballi, Shettar said that Rs 5,800 crore had been misappropriated by the Congress in connection with sand imports from Malaysia.