National

Anti-graft body probes more Pappu projects

  • Seeks details of seven projects handled by joint ventures involving Rauniyar’s construction firm
- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Nov 3, 2018-

The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority has launched a probe into seven bridge projects undertaken by joint ventures involving the infamous Pappu Construction, whose promoters--suspended lawmaker Hari Narayan Rauniyar and his son Sumit Rauniyar--face a corruption case in court.

A senior official at the Department of Roads told the Post on condition of anonymity that the anti-graft body recently sought details of the seven bridges undertaken by the Pappu Construction and its joint venture partners.

The projects whose documents were sought include the Teku bridge in Kathmandu, Ratu Nadi bridge in Mahottari, Kamala Khola bridge in Sindhuli, Tilawe Khola bridge in Parsa, Naurangiya Khola bridge in Parsa, Dalan bridge in Siraha and Mahuli bridge in Saptari.

The CIAA on October 5 filed a case in the Special Court against the Rauniyar duo, along with 10 government officials and consultants over substandard bridge construction over Babai River in Jabbighat, Bardiya.

According to Road Department officials, the watchdog dispatched four letters on different dates demanding details of the works. The Teku Bridge undertaken by the ZIEC-Pappu JV was completed in July this year. The department has refused to accept the structure that links Teku and Kalimati, calling the works substandard. All other bridge projects are in different stages of construction although all of them are past their deadline.

CIAA Spokesman Rame-shore Dangal confirmed that all the projects with poor progress were subject to probe. “It is not that we have targeted only Pappu Construction. We investigate troubled projects where there is controversy,” he told the Post.

The action comes at a time when the anti-graft body has focused its attention to wrongdoings in the government’s construction projects. The commission recently issued guidelines for the government agencies to ensure fast completion of infrastructure projects.

Works in most of the Pappu-handled projects are either behind their schedule or the quality has been compromised. According to a Post investigation in September, of the 41 bridge construction contracts snagged by Pappu and its joint venture partners, the company has missed the deadline on 25 deals, while progress in all the remaining projects is dismal.

In other projects being investigated by the constitutional commission, physical progress ranges from 20 percent to 85 percent. A government probe also found that some of these projects under the CIAA scanner are substandard.

A committee formed by the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport recently found defects in the Babai bridge in Bardiya, Lalbakaiya bridge in Rautahat, Kamala bridge in Sindhuli, and Ratu bridge in Mahottari. It had inspected seven bridge projects contracted to the Pappu and its partners.

 

Published: 03-11-2018 07:27

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