India

Gadkari: Probe MPs, MLAs who seek bribes from highway contractors

Gadkari: Probe MPs, MLAs who seek bribes from highway contractors

Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has given CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) a list of MPs and MLAs along with a cache of their secretly recorded conversations and videos to probe whether these public representatives demanded bribe from road contractors and tried to stall highways works.

“About four months ago I asked contractors, who came to me complaining, to record audio and videos of the conversations. I have given all that to CBI and ED. There is zero tolerance on corruption in NHAI,” Gadkari said.
In a letter to the agencies on Monday, Gadkari stated that contractors complained of being threatened by local MPs and MLAs, who allegedly stalled project works while demanding money. Most cases reportedly pertain to works in Maharashtra.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has issued instructions that the Road Transport and Highways Ministry and the RBI explore ways to increase loan/finance tenure for infrastructure projects to 30 years — on a par with global practice. Gadkari on Thursday said, “Globally, infrastructure finance tenure is 30 years. In our country it is 20 years. The PM instructed…to sit together and explore ways to make it 30 years. Once that happens, all roads (projects) will be viable.”