The DMK has written to the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti Corruption (DVAC) seeking a probe into graft allegations against Tamil Nadu Minister for Municipal Administration and Rural Development SP Velumani.
The allegations against the Minister came to light on September 7 when a news channel aired an investigation into government contracts allegedly awarded to close friends and associates of the Minister. The Minister is alleged to have allowed companies owned by his close aides to bid for the same tender, in violation of tender rules.
On Friday, the DMK’s Organising Secretary and Rajya Sabha MP RS Bharathi wrote to the DVAC listing out companies owned by Velumani’s aides whose profits had jumped significantly after they were awarded government contracts worth hundreds of crores.
Pointing out that this was their fourth complaint against a sitting Minister, the DMK has sought action against the Minister and his aides under the Income Tax Act, Companies Act, Indian Penal Code, Prohibition of Benami Transactions Act, Prevention of Money Laundering Act as well as the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The DMK alleges that P Senthil & Co, a firm run by SP Velumani’s own brother P Anbarasan has bagged projects worth more than Rs 80 crore from the Coimbatore corporation for the past eight years.
KCP Engineers Private Limited, a company run by SP Velumani's close aide Chandraprakash (and formerly headed by Velumani's political aide Chandrasekaran) is also said to have received projects worth Rs 50 crore from the Coimbatore Corporation.
Other alleged benami companies named in the complaint include Constromall Goods Private Limited, Vardhan Infrastructure, Constronics India, Aalayam Foundation Private Limited and Invicta Meditek Limited, whose profits spiked after bagging corporation contracts.
Further, the DMK seeks investigation into why two of the companies- KCP Engineers and Vardhan Infrastructure- had been awarded contracts despite no past expertise. The party alleges that closing dates of Chennai Corporation contracts were arbitrarily extended only to enable the participation of the companies belonging to close aides of the Minister.
“The Chennai Corporation had a surplus of Rs. 942 crores in 2012. By 2013, Chennai Corporation’s surplus had decreased to Rs. 566 crores. After Thiru. S.P. Velumani took over as Minister, Chennai Corporation’s surplus funds have depleted and it has now taken a loan of Rs. 2,500 crores. Now, Chennai Corporation is a debt ridden body, chiefly due to the maladministration of Thiru. S. P. Velumani, highlighted by several irregularities in the tenders awarded by the Corporation as mentioned above,” the DMK states in its complaint.
In a startling allegation, the DMK says that a Rs 100 crore tender for the Prime Minister's pet project, 'Smart City Mission', was awarded to Acetech Machinery Components India Private Limited "by manipulating tender process and transferring the chairman and managing Director of Tamilnadu Urban Finance and Infrastructure Development Corporation." The firm manufactures metal sheets and has no smart city experience, the complaint states.
The DMK also suspects that a Chennai based jewellery store, Sri Maha Ganapathi Jewellers Pvt. Ltd, is where the "ill-gotten money is alleged to be laundered."
The DMK has previously sought action against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, and Health Minister Vijayabaskar. In its complaint, the party also pointed out the previous ‘track record’ of the DVAC in not registering an FIR against the Ministers.