The government has zero tolerance for corruption and strict action will be taken if any NHAI official is found guilty of taking bribe from US- based CDM Smith Inc, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today. The National Highway Authority of India has initiated an internal inquiry following reports that CDM Smith had admitted having paid bribe to NHAI officials between 2011 and 2015. The Criminal Division of the US Justice Department had said that Boston based company through its employees and agents, and those of its wholly-owned subsidiary in India (CDM India) paid approximately $1.18 million in bribes to government officials in India. The bribes were paid in exchange for highway construction supervision and design contracts and a water project contract, resulting in approximately USD four million in net profit. “Strict action will taken against those found guilty,” Road Transport, Shipping and Highways Minister Gadkari said in reply to a question in this regard. Observing that the case belonged to the tenure of the previous government, the minister said he ordered the inquiry the moment he came to know about the case. “We have zero tolerance for corruption…,” he said, adding projects worth Rs 6 lakh crore have been awarded by his ministry and no contractor had to visit his office. “We are committed to corruption free, transparent, time bound and result oriented (administration),” he added.
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Gadkari further said efforts by his ministry to clear long pending projects has helped in containing NPAs in banking sector, which otherwise would be soared by additional Rs 3 lakh crore. Between 2011 and 2015, employees of CDM Smith’s division responsible for India operations and CDM India illegally paid bribes to NHAI officials in order to receive contracts from them, the Justice Department said in the letter to CDM Smith.