The AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu has found itself in another controversy, this time in connection with awarding contracts to people who are close to a minister. The newest in the line of ministers accused of irregularities in awarding government contracts is SP Velumani, who is the Minister for Municipal Administration, Rural Development and implementation of special programmes.
An investigation by news channel Times Now said that the minister awarded government contracts relating to various municipalities and corporations to the companies owned by his brother and close aides. Reports say that he allegedly allowed these companies to bid for the same tender, thereby flouting tender rules. The amount involved in this scam runs to hundreds of crores.
There are six companies that are now in the limelight as receiving undue advantage due to their proximity to the minister.
- P Senthil & Co - Run by SP Velumaniâ€™s own brother P Anbarasan, this company has allegedly bagged projects worth more than Rs 80 crores from the Coimbatore corporation for the past eight years.
- KCP Engineers Private Limited â€“ This company was run by Rajan Chandrasekaran, who is SP Velumaniâ€™s close political aide. Rajan was the Managing Director of KCP Engineers till he quit in 2016, after which Chandraprakash took over as the MD. Rajan Chandrasekaran is also the Secretary of the Coimbatore Youth Wing of AIADMK and the printer and publisher of the AIADMK mouthpiece, Namadhu Amma. Documents have allegedly revealed that KCP Engineers has projects worth Rs 100 crores from Chennai Corporation. The company had also received projects worth Rs 50 crores related to Coimbatore corporation between the years 2011 and 2015.
- Constromall Goods Private Limited â€“ This is newly started company, in which Rajan Chandrasekaran and Chandraprakash are directors. Jayaprakash Vishnuvardhan is also a director in the company.
- Vardhan Infrastructure â€“ The Company is headed by Sundari Krishnakumar who is Chandraprakashâ€™s mother. Vardhan Infrastructure has reportedly obtained contracts worth Rs 6.5 crores from Coimbatore Corporation. In 2016-17, this company was given the contract to repair bus route roads under Chennai Corporation worth Rs 2.5 crores.
- Constronics India â€“ This firm is managed by Jayaprakash Vishnuvardhan, Chandraprakash and his wife Umamaheswari and other partners. The firm has also allegedly received contracts valued upto several lakhs of rupees from the Coimbatore and Chennai Corporations.
- Aalayam Foundation Private Limited â€“ This real estate company has Rajan Chandrasekaran, Chandraprakash, Sundari Krishnakumar and Umamaheswari as shareholders and is a subsidiary of KCP Engineers Private limited.
The above mentioned companies, together, have been in possession of multiple contracts under the portfolio held by SP Velumani. The presence of the same people in the managing capacities in all the above companies have raised suspicions on the minister for undue favouritism.
SP Velumani was elected to the 2016 Assembly from Thondamuthur constituency in Coimbatore. As the minister for Rural administration, he is also in charge for Corporations, Panchayats and Panchayat Unions, Poverty Alleviation Programmes, Rural Indebtedness and Urban and Rural Water Supply (TWAD) in the state.