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Flyover scam: Four arrested


T O Sooraj


Kochi: The Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau (VACB) on Friday arrested four top officials involved in the construction of a flyover here, which had to be closed down 30 months after it was opened.

This 750-metre flyover, including its approach roads, was built at a cost of Rs 42 crore and is located in the heart of the city. It was opened in October 2016 and closed down in May this year, after damage was reported.

The arrested include Delhi-based RDS Projects, project director Sumit Goyal, former State Public Works Department secretary (retired IAS officer) T.O. Sooraj, Benny Paul, who represented the state-owned KITCO and M.T. Thankachen, attached to the state-owned Roads and Bridges Development Corporation.

All the accused were questioned early this week and were asked to report to the probe team today.

VACB officer Ashok Kumar told the media that their probe had revealed that there were lapses in the construction work.

RDS was the contracting firm which did the work, KITCO was the supervision consultants and the Corporation was the client.

'Metroman' E. Sreedharan, when asked to inspect the flyover by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, had remarked that what was to stand for over 100 years was crumbling after two-and-a-half years. "The CM had pointed out that appropriate action would follow soon," Sreedharan had said.

Technical reports pointed out that while the foundation of the project is fine, of the 102 RCC girders, 97 had cracks, of the 18 piers, 16 of them had cracks besides 17 spans had to be changed.

This was built during the previous Congress-ruled Oommen Chandy government's tenure and the final completion took place during the present Left-led regime. It was opened in October 2016.

Local Congress legislator P.T. Thomas welcomed the action, saying wrongdoers have to be taken to task. "But with an Assembly by-election due here soon, everyone thinks that there should not be any politics involved in this arrest", said Thomas.

Countering Thomas was CPI-M legislator M. Swaraj, whose constituency lies next to where the flyover is located. Swaraj said Thomas "has the habit" of politicising every issue.

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News Summary - Flyover scam: Four arrested
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