A senior IAS officer, who earlier worked in the roads and buildings department, has revealed that all engineers, starting from assistant engineers at the field level to senior engineers in the department, were under constant pressure from contractor lobbies. The pressure often even translates into verbal scolding of senior officers, he said.
This startling revelation was made by 1975-batch officer Dr Tishyarakshit Chatterjee during his deposition before the CBI as part of the Vanpic deal probe. Chatterjee is presently posted as secretary, environment and forest, government of India. He was the principal secretary, roads and buildings department in the state from June 2006 to December 2009. The CBI called him to depose over the road laying works given to M/s Maytas Infra Limited on nomination basis.
Chatterjee told CBI that the during review meetings of projects in Kadapa district on August 6, 2008, the Gandikota project was reviewed. This project was awarded during 2004-05 to M/s Maytas Nagarjuna Construction Company joint venture.
Various aspects of the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) work were reviewed and the then chief minister directed officials to take up work on a two-lane road out of the proposed four-lane state highway immediately. This was in view of the urgency to complete the R&R process and to enable impounding of water in the reservoir. This work was to be taken up by the existing agency, Maytas Infra Limited, on ‘nomination basis’.
The R&B department prepared an estimate for `121 crore for the project. But the finance department requested to reconcile the figure to a lesser amount. Chatterjee said that his department circulated a memorandum to the council of ministers, alerting them that the file related to the sanction of work to Mytas Infra Limited for `90.15 crore on nomination basis at 0.883% less than the estimated cost value.
A GO was issued by the department which was later quashed by the High Court on March 5, 2010 following a writ petition against awarding the work on nomination basis. Chatterjee told the CBI that the work was entrusted on nomination basis on the specific orders of the then CM Y S Rajasekhara Reddy.
“As the proposal was mooted by the I&CAD department and the funding was being made by the same department, it was presumed that they took the cabinet clearance for the funding of work. However, when we realised that the I&CAD department had not taken cabinet clearance before the GO was issued, I suggested in the note sheet on January 17, 2009 to keep the nomination basis to Maytas Infra Limited in abeyance. The note was seen by the chief secretary P Ramakanth Reddy and roads and buildings minister T Jeevan Reddy. However, on February 10, 2009, the CM has ordered on the file that there was no need to keep the nomination agreement in abeyance and that we should take cabinet ratification,” the official said.