Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Aug 14:
A special class civil contractor, who has gained prominence for winning government tenders in various parts of Odisha allegedly due to his links with beleaguered Godman Srimad Sarathi Dev is now under the scanner of the Crime Branch.
According to sources in the Crime Branch, contracts worth around Rs 25 crore from the R&B department. which is under CB lens now, have been awarded to the special class contractor– Bijay Rout– in the recent past . Besides, the special class contractor is all set to bag contracts worth over Rs 15 crore from the Irrigation Department (Cuttack Division). His bid has been sent for formal approval, sources said.
Notably, the Irrigation department had invited tenders for river embankment along Hansua from Kandarpur to Jaypur for which four persons had expressed interest. The bids of two contractors were rejected at the preliminary stage itself while the two others were sent to the Superintending Engineer. The engineer has earmarked the contract for Rout, sources added.
A final decision in this regard will be taken at the high-level meeting presided over by department secretary scheduled to be held on August 18.
That the contractor has clout over both politicians as well as officials is evident from the fact that no action was initiated against him despite several complaints over violation of rules and norms. To name a few: the embankment work along Buddha river was awarded to him for an initial estimated project cost of Rs 4.65 crore. However, he clinched the tender at an enhanced value of Rs 6.83 crore with a deviation amount of over Rs 2.70 crore. The terms and conditions for the tender were so fixed that it would favour him and he turned out to be the single bidder. Though it emerged during internal audit, the matter was pushed under the carpet, sources revealed.
The special class contractor’s influence is not limited to Cuttack or Kendrapara, he has turned the tables in his favour in Bhadrak district too.
It is alleged that Srimad Sarathi Dev played a major role in brokering deals between politicians and officials to get the contracts in favour of Rout.
While vital information is coming out during the interrogation of Bijay Rout, Crime Branch sleuths are trying to establish the link between Baba and the contractor in various transactions.
During the interrogation of the contractor yesterday for over eight hours, the cops have stumbled upon crucial leads. The bank statements of Sarathi reveal huge cash transfers between the duo.