Rs 53,000 LED threw light on Karnataka scam

The Karnataka Industrial Development Board (KIADB) has decided to cancel all electrical tenders issued by the previous management, following allegations of a scam after it was found that a work order was issued to change sodium vapour (HSVP) streetlights to LEDs (light emitting diodes) at a staggering Rs 52,890 per 150 watt LED.

Admitting there was an attempt at a scam — no cash was paid out — KIADB, chief executive officer H Basavarajendra said: “I have asked for detailed reports from both the chief development officers in-charge of the project. We know that the rates quoted are ridiculous since an LED streetlight is priced around Rs 10,000 per piece.”

Basavarajendra has also asked for details of the technical personnel in the department who advised his predecessor to issue a work order for the project. “We have taken corrective measures and cancelled over 10 electrical contracts (including this one),” he said.

Meanwhile, Committee For Public Accountability, a not-for-profit outfit, has filed a case with the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) against KIADB officials who sanctioned the project.

The scam dates back to 2018, when KIADB called for tenders to lay a 220Kv watt line for a power sub-station at Aerospace Park in Devanahalli industrial area. A work order was issued at an estimated cost of Rs 117 crore and all appeared above board.

While executing the project, officials found they had to erect towers on the median of a 6.6km stretch of road inside the park, to carry a transmission line. The median, however, already contained 334 sodium vapour streetlights.

A few officials spied a “bright opportunity” to make a quick buck. Under the garb of upgrading the 334 sodium vapour lights to LEDs, they issued a work slip — without calling for tenders

ET Energy World
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