Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, state’s chief secretary Anthony JC De Sa and Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation (MPRDC) managing director Manish Rastogi along with eight other officials were issued notices by the MP High Court for contempt of a court petition.
A private firm, M/s Jabalpur Corridor (India) Private Limited, was awarded a contract for construction of the Jabalpur-Damoh-Sagar road of 170 kilometers within a span of 18 months in April, 2003.
Senior advocate Vivek Tankha and Shashank Shekhar, who appeared for the private firm, said the private firm terminated the contract in June, 2007 as the MPRDC declined to release the funds.
The matter was then put before the arbitration tribunal and an award of Rs. 67.34 crore was passed in favour of the private firm and the same was confirmed by the district court Bhopal.
The MPRDC challenged the district court order by filing an arbitration appeal in the high court.
During the hearing of the appeal in April, 2016, the HC directed the MPRDC to deposit 55% of the award amount with the high court’s registry.
On August 23, the MPRDC filed a review petition against the court’s order while the private firm moved a contempt of court petition over the corporation’s failure to deposit the sum.
The HC, however, rejected the MPRDC’s review and directed it to deposit the amount within one week.
The court on Saturday issued notices to 11 officials -- including the CM and the chief secretary in their capacity as MPRDC directors.
Senior advocate Naman Nagrath, appearing for the MPRDC, said the private firm completed only 47% of the road construction work which mostly included repairs.
The project cost of Jabalpur-Sagar-Damoh road was Rs 89 crore and since the road was to be constructed on a built-operate-transfer (BOT) basis, the state government sanctioned Rs 47 crore as grants, the counsel said.
The state released Rs 24 crore to the MPRDC immediately after the contract for construction of the road was awarded, the counsel said.
The HC fixed September 14 as the date for hearing of the contempt petition.