“40% commission demand continues even in Congress regime,” allege Karnataka contractors

Accusing officials in state govt of rampant corruption, he said, earlier public representatives were demanding bribes, now it's their turn.

ByPTI

Published Feb 08, 2024 | 8:52 PMUpdatedFeb 08, 2024 | 8:52 PM

Karnataka State Contractors' Association President D Kempanna in the middle with folded hands

Karnataka State Contractors’ Association president D Kempanna on Thursday, 8 February, alleged that the practice of 40 percent kickbacks on government contracts continues even under the Congress regime.

Accusing officials in the state government of rampant corruption, he said, earlier (during the previous BJP regime) public representatives were demanding bribes, now it’s their turn.

“Corruption is on in Karnataka by the officials. Till now no MLA, MP or Minister has asked us for money. Earlier MLAs used to ask for a specified amount to give us a contract for work, that is not the situation now. Now the officials come and ask —give money, if you want work,” Kempanna said.

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‘Not mentioning who asked money’

Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, he said, “When we ask as to whom the money should be given, they (officials) say — why do you want it (to know)? If you want the work, give money.”

The Association had under the leadership of Kempanna earlier alleged “harassment” by ministers, elected representatives and others during the previous BJP regime, accusing them of demanding 40 percent commission for awarding contracts and clearing bills, and had even written a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard.

During the 2023 Assembly polls, the Congress had made the Association’s charge a major campaign issue to dub the BJP as being “corrupt”. This was seen as one of the key factors that led to the BJP’s debacle in the elections.

Asked to reveal the identity of the officials who were demanding bribes, Kempanna said, “I’m already facing five defamation cases, so I don’t want to reveal the names of the officials as of now.”

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‘Same commission is continuing’

“Such officials are there in all the departments,” he said. ” (some) officials are the worst, they are corrupt officials, whether it is in BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) or PWD (Public Works Department) or Irrigation department. The arrogance of officials has reached its height, we are fighting against it.”

Asked how much commission is being demanded now, Kempanna, who had levelled the 40 percent kickbacks charge against the previous BJP government, said: “The same 40 percent commission has continued, because of officials.”

“If officials are not controlled, the government in no way will get a good name….officials seem to be controlling things,” he added.

“Package system” is being followed to take up projects in all departments, Kempanna said. “This is being done with the intention to keep away local contractors and favour contractors from neighboring states. Due to the package system, local, small-medium contractors of the state are facing problems as they are not getting the work.”

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