Contractor accuses officials of demanding 40% commission

Published on May 03, 2022 12:23 AM IST

Yariswamy said that the executive engineer and junior engineer, among others, have demanded the commission to release payments, making life hard for small-time contractors who sometimes borrow money to complete works.

The Congress stepped up protests against the Bommai government after Santosh K Patil, a contractor, was found dead, weeks after he made allegations that he was being harassed by then rural development and panchayat raj minister KS Eshwarappa to cough up 40% commission for works of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>4 crore done in Hindalga village of Belagavi district. (PTI)
The Congress stepped up protests against the Bommai government after Santosh K Patil, a contractor, was found dead, weeks after he made allegations that he was being harassed by then rural development and panchayat raj minister KS Eshwarappa to cough up 40% commission for works of 4 crore done in Hindalga village of Belagavi district. (PTI)
BySharan Poovanna

Bengaluru

A public works contractor from Koppal in Karnataka has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that state government officials in the district are demanding 30-40% commission to release payments.

Yariswamy said that the executive engineer and junior engineer, among others, have demanded the commission to release payments, making life hard for small-time contractors who sometimes borrow money to complete works.

“They only first told me to complete the work, assured me that no percentage would be sought. After the job was completed and the payment stage came, they are now demanding a percentage. How do we trust them?” he asked.

The contractor alleged that he has already paid around 50,000 as demanded by the officials but the payments were still not released.

According to the letter, dated April 29, he had undertaken works worth 15 lakh in a solid waste management (SWM) facility for which the officials are demanding 30-40% commission.

Yariswamy said he had paid 12,000 twice and 5000 on PhonePe, and 20,000 in cash.

The contractor said the local administration asked him to complete the job and once 90% of the works was done, they did not release payments since he was not willing to pay the commission and instead put the roof over the building themselves.

The statements come at a time when the Basavaraj Bommai-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is facing charges of demanding corruption for release of payments.

The Karnataka State Contractors Association, in November last year, had alleged that the Bommai-led administration and elected representatives demand as much as 40% commission, a term used for bribes.

This association too had written to Modi on the alleged malpractices by the BJP ruled government in Karnataka and decided not to take up any more works until these issues, including clearing of pending payments, are resolved.

The letter written by the contractors’ association to Prime Minister in July last year surfaced in which they had alleged that elected representatives and other officials were harassing them and demanding bribes.

Santosh K Patil, a right-wing worker and contractor, was found dead, weeks after he made allegations that he was being harassed by then rural development and panchayat raj (RDPR) minister KS Eshwarappa to cough up 40% commission for works of 4 crore done in Hindalga village of Belagavi district.

Patil, in a WhatsApp message believed to have been sent by him to his associates and the media, directly blamed Eshwarappa for his death. There are several pictures circulating on social media in which Patil is seen with the minister.

Gram panchayat president Nagesh said that as soon as Patil came back to Hindalga, he started work and completed all of it, valued at around 4 crore.

According to the FIR, in 2020-21, during the Sri Lakshmi Devi Fair at Hindalga, Belagavi district leaders and seers met Eshwarappa in Bengaluru and requested that road construction and sewer works be taken up at the earliest in the backdrop of the fair. The minister conveyed to the workers to start the work, saying he will take care of all the expenses.

Eshwarappa had also denied that Patil was a BJP party worker.

Eshwarappa was forced to step down from the cabinet as the opposition and others increased pressure on the Bommai government over piling allegations of corruption and polarising the population to deflect attention away from lack of development and welfare ahead of 2023 assembly elections.

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