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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Retired Kerala IAS officer faces heat for faulty bridge construction

TO Sooraj had given his permission to the project despite experts pointing out serious lapses in the design.

south Updated: Aug 30, 2019 20:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Retired IAS officer TO Sooraj who held plum posts in the government is facing heat for alleged wrongdoing in Kochi’s Palarivattom bridge construction in Kochi.
Retired IAS officer TO Sooraj who held plum posts in the government is facing heat for alleged wrongdoing in Kochi’s Palarivattom bridge construction in Kochi. (Videograb/Youtube/Kerala State Youth Welfare Board)
         

The Kerala Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau on Friday arrested former IAS officer TO Sooraj and three others in connection with alleged irregularities in a flyover that was constructed in Kochi four years ago.

The anti-corruption agency has levelled multiple charges including corruption, conspiracy and misuse of funds against him. The officials said that Sooraj had given his permission to the project despite experts pointing out serious lapses in the design. The IAS officer who had retired earlier and held plum posts during his career, was aware of the tendering process of the bridge. The officials said that more people will be arrested in the coming days.

Sumit Goyal, MD of the RDS Projects Limited which constructed the bridge, Benny Paul GM of Kitco, technical consultant of the project and P D Thankachhan, GM of the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala were arrested alongside TO Sooraj.

A controversial officer, Sooraj is also facing a disproportionate assets case. A court in Kochi had recently attached his properties worth crores of rupees. The Enforcement Directorate had also filed a case against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) Act.

The bridge in Palarivattom was closed for traffic after major cracks developed in pillars and girders two months back. A team from IIT Chennai examined the flyover and found poor quality materials were used for construction. Later ‘Metroman’ E Sreedharan also examined the bridge after the state government requested him.

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