CHENNAI: Alleging that Higher Education Minister K P Anbalagan demanded more than `10 crore as bribe for award of a contract for construction of buildings for polytechnic colleges in eight districts in the State, a Class-I contractor has moved the Madras High Court with a writ petition for a direction to the PWD Chief Engineer to open his financial bid in front of him and to award the contract without consulting the minister.
When the petition from V Vengan of Pavakkal in Krishnagiri came up before Justice M Duraiswamy on Thursday, Additional Advocate-General S T S Moorthy took notice. The judge posted the matter after three weeks.
The petitioner said the PWD issued a tender notification on May 8 last for the construction of additional buildings under Phase-II for new government polytechnic colleges in Madurai, Theni, Pudukkottai, Villupuram, Vellore, Krishnagiri, Tiruchy and Erode districts. The tenders were to be opened at 3.30 pm on June 9, in the presence of the tenderers or their agents.
However, the tenders were not opened on that day. Only pre-qualification bid was opened on June 22 and the petitioner, who was present on the occasion, was found to be qualified. However, the price bid was not opened.
The petitioner alleged that he was advised by the chief engineer to meet the minister and accordingly, he met him on July 21. To his shock, the minister demanded 20 per cent commission of the contract amount, which would run to `13 crore against the total project cost of `79 crore. Otherwise, the contract would go to another bidder — Nandhini Constructions of Erode, who had agreed to pay 16% commission, the minister allegedly told him.
Petitioner contended that the minister cannot demand a bribe for awarding the contract work to the lowest bidder. He is not bound to pay any commission to the minister. “In the tender notification there is no clause for payment of illegal commission to the minister,” the petitioner said and added that the PWD is bound to follow the procedure laid down under the TN Transparency in Tenders Act.