The allegation by contractors’ association on corruption in the execution of government works sparked off heated arguments in the Legislative Council on Thursday.
Congress member C.M. Ibrahim, who raised the issue, said the president of the contractors’ association had complained to the Prime Minister accusing the elected representatives and officers of demanding 40% of funds allotted for government works as kickbacks. “The allegation had insulted members of both the Houses. The Government should issue notice to the association,” he said.
Mr. Ibrahim said he would not politicise the issue as the complainant had made allegations against all elected representatives.
While responding to the issue, Minister for Major and Minor Irrigation Govind Karjol said allegations of corruption had been levelled against people in power since the days of Kengal Hanumanthaiya, who built the Vidhana Soudha. “In this case, an opinion expressed by head of an association with 800 contractors cannot be construed as the opinion of all 42,000 registered contractors of the State,” he said.
The Minister countered by stating that allegations were not backed by documents. If contractors had paid 40% commission, they should give the list of work they executed and names of those who took money, he said.
As the Minister attempted to give a reference to an alleged conversation on corruption in the Congress office, JD(S) member Marithibbe Gowda wanted to know why the Minister had not given reply in writing. Members of the Congress also joined him, leading to heated argument with the ruling party members. They trooped to the well objecting to the Minister’s reply. They raised slogans against the Government. Chairman Basavaraj Horatti adjourned the House.