Eight of a dreaded gang arrested

Kendrapara (Odisha): Eight people, including five members of a dreaded gang, were arrested in Odisha`s Kendrapara district for allegedly fixing tenders for goverment construction projects, police said today.

Police stumbled on vital clues about the tender-fixing racket while investigating a recent shootout that left three people injured at Badapalagada bazar. Members of Tito gang shot at two contractors for defying them by bidding on a tender, according to police.

Those arrested yesterday were Ashok Panda of Cuttack, Manas Sahu of Ghatagaon, Avinandan Palei of Nikirai, Satyajit Mahali of Balasore and Kashinath Dhal of Kendrapara. Police have also taken two contractors and a taxi owner into custody for involvement in tender-fixing.

The alleged gangsters of the Tito-led crime syndicate were masterminding the fixing of tenders of various construction division offices here. Though the gang leader is now behind bars, he was callling the shots from the prison.

Unscrupulous contractors sought the gang`s services to win tenders, said Kendrapara superintendent of police Narasingha Bhol.

"Recently, Rs 6 crore worth of tenders for 252 governmental civil construction projects was invited," Bhol said adding "police had information that criminals had rigged the tender process though acts of intimidation. That had led many of the bidders to withdraw from the bidding process".

Despite police crackdown, tender-fixers continue to terrorise contractors. Some unscrupulous contractors who are working with criminals to fix tenders have been identified. Police are gathering evidence against contractors involved in tender-fixing. They are also looking into the involvement of officials and employees of civil construciton divisions.