Business Standard

Congress claims corruption in purchase of laptops under Safe Kerala project

Chennithala claimed that laptops with specifications stipulated under the project contract would have cost only around Rs 57,000 per machine


Congress (Photo: PTI)

Press Trust of India Thiruvananthapuram
After raising allegations of large-scale corruption by the ruling Left government in the state in the procurement and installation of artificial intelligence (AI) cameras under the Safe Kerala initiative, the opposition Congress on Monday claimed irregularities in purchase of laptops under the same project.
Senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala, who had first raised the issue of corruption in connection with the AI cameras, claimed that laptops for the project were purchased for more than three times what they would have actually cost.
Chennithala claimed that laptops with specifications stipulated under the project contract would have cost only around Rs 57,000 per machine.
However, the 358 laptops required for the project were bought for Rs 1.48 lakh per machine for a total of over Rs five crore, he contended while speaking to reporters here.
The Congress leader also alleged that the same private company which was involved in the installation of the AI cameras was the one behind the laptop procurement also.
Neither the state government nor the private company involved has reacted to the allegations presently.
Chennithala said he would release details of the same soon in the public domain and would also place it before the Kerala High Court where he and Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan have moved a joint plea for quashing the approvals given to the project.
The High Court last week had directed the state government not to make any financial payments as part of the project without seeking further clarification from it or till further orders.
The court had also observed that it was convinced the plea "needs to be examined from the perspective of change in the dynamics of implementation of the project, whether the change is objective, bona fide or vitiated by any of the collateral reasons now stated in the petition".
Chennithala and other Congress leaders have been alleging that the Left government had indulged in some irregularities in awarding the tender to SRIT for the setting up a fully automated traffic enforcement system.
The Kerala government had in 2020 entered into an agreement with state-run Keltron for the project.
In April this year, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had inaugurated the 'Safe Kerala' project, which included installation of the AI cameras, envisaged to reduce road accidents and traffic violations in the state.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jun 26 2023 | 7:52 PM IST

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