A Class-I contractor has moved the Madras High Court alleging that the Higher Education Minister  K P Anbalagan has demanded a bribe of over Rs 10 crore to let him win the contract. The contract is for the construction of buildings for polytechnic colleges in eight districts in the state. The contractor has also moved a writ petition for a direction to the PWD chief engineer to open his financial bid in front of him and award the contract without consulting the minister. 

V Vengal of Pavakkal in Krishnagiri came up before Justice M Duraiswamy on Thursday, additional advocate-general S T S Moorthy took notice of the fact and posted the matter after three weeks. 

The petitioner said that the PWD issued a tender notice on May 8 last for the construction of additional buildings under Phase-II for new government polytechnic colleges in Madurai, Villupuram, Pudukkottai, Vellore, Krishnagiri, Tiruchy, and Erode districts. The tenders were scheduled to be open at 3:30 pm on June 9, but were not opened the entire day. Incidentally, only the pre-qualification bid was opened on June 22 and the petitioner was qualified. However, the price bid was not opened. 

The minister informed the court that he was allegedly asked by the chief engineer to meet the minister for further progress. When the petitioner met the minister on June 21, to his surprise, he asked him to fish out 20% of commission of the contract amount, which amounted to Rs 13 crore approximately against the total project cost of Rs 79 crore. Allegedly, the minister further threatened him with an alternative settlement he had made with another contractor who was ready to pay up 16% commission. 

Refusing to pay the bribe, the petitioner argued that the minister cannot demand a bribe for awarding contract work to the lowest bidder. He also said that he is not bound to pay any commission to the minister. Speaking to the Deccan Chronicle, he said, "In the tender notification there is no clause for payment of illegal commission to the minister. He further added, "PWD is bound to follow the procedure laid down under the TN Transparency in Tenders Act."