New Delhi: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to take action against Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari for his alleged role in awarding the contract of the Rs 10,050 crore Zojila Pass Tunnel project in Jammu and Kashmir.
Digvijaya Singh had on Monday written to the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) to apprise him of the issue.
The contract was awarded to IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd. to build southeast Asia's longest tunnel at Zojila pass in the border state.
In his letter to Modi, Digvijaya Singh said: "I request you to kindly examine the matter and take necessary actions immediately so as also to ensure that the first instalment of Rs.981 crore is withheld till proper enquiry is made. I have brought this matter to the notice of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)."
"I am sure that you (Modi) will go deeper into the matter to unearth the truth and will not shy away from referring the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for prosecution," he wrote.
Earlier, in his letter to the CVC, Digvijaya Singh wrote: "The association of Nitin Gadkari with the Mhaiskar family, the promoters of IRB Group is the worst kept secret.
"In the past, they have invested crores in the business companies of the Gadkari family and Nikhil Gadkari (Nitin Gadkari's son) was the shareholder and promoter director in Ideal Energy Projects Ltd. of IRB Group.
"The concession period for the project is 22 years. IRB will receive semi-annual annuity of Rs 981 crore from commencing of construction of the project which would be received twice in a year till the end of the concession period."
The letter further read: "The award was designed, structured and implemented in such a way that CVC guidelines were given a proper bypass. Legal smoke screen around the contract is endeavoured. IRB was the sole bidder in the final round, whereas in the initial rounds other companies of repute like ILFS, HCC, L&T etc were there."
"They were given specific signals to withdraw or face consequences in other projects. IRB do not have any specific experience in construction of tunnel of such magnitude in high altitude. The tender documents were also designed in such a manner that all other non favoured bidders were elbowed out," it added.
Gadkari, however, denied the charge while interacting with reporters at a press conference.