Telangana High Court Adjourns Petitions Seeking CBI Probe into Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project

Telangana High Court defers petitions seeking CBI probe into Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project till June. State formed inquiry commission headed by former SC Judge. Allegations of negligence and irregularities under scrutiny.

The Telangana High Court has deferred a batch of petitions calling for a CBI investigation into alleged irregularities surrounding the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project. The hearing has been postponed until June, following the conclusion of the High Court's summer vacation.

The decision to adjourn the petitions comes in light of the Telangana state government's establishment of a commission of inquiry on March 14. This commission, headed by Justice Pinaki Chandra Gosh, a former judge of the Supreme Court, is tasked with investigating allegations of negligence, irregularities, and deficiencies in the planning, design, and construction of the Medigadda, Annaram, and Sundilla barrages. Additionally, it will examine the processes of contract award and execution, along with any deviations from the prescribed standards.

"A division bench, comprising Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Anil Kumar Jukanti, considered the submission by the state government," noted that the inquiry commission will conduct a comprehensive investigation and submit a report detailing its findings. Therefore, the bench opted to adjourn the matters related to the CBI probe.

The batch of petitions and public interest litigations (PILs) was filed by various individuals, including Prajashanti Party leader K.A. Paul, Prof. M. Kodandarami Reddy, advocate Rammohan Reddy, Vishwanath Reddy, and Bakka Judson. These petitions sought a thorough and impartial CBI inquiry into allegations of kickbacks, inflated costs, and substandard construction practices associated with the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project.

Earlier, the High Court had scrutinized the state government's contentions in some of the petitions filed two months ago.

It was revealed that officials from the National Dam Safety Authority (NDSA) had inspected the project site on October 24-25 and communicated their findings regarding the sinking of Medigadda barrage piers. Subsequently, a vigilance and enforcement (V&E) inquiry was initiated, leading to a preliminary report. Based on this report, the state government requested the NDSA to conduct a comprehensive inspection covering all pertinent issues related to the Medigadda, Annaram, and Sundilla barrages.

During Wednesday's proceedings, the advocate general informed the court about the recent appointment of the inquiry commission. Taking this development into account, the court decided to adjourn the batch of petitions and PILs until after the summer vacation.