Patna, Aug 29 (IANS) The Power Grid Corporation's rural electrification works have been hit in Bihar's Aurangabad district following demands of extortion by a suspended Janata Dal-United (JD-U) legislator.
Sunil Pandey allegedly threatened G. Venugopal Naidu senior engineer and site manager of Hyderabad-based Vijay Electrical Limited - engaged in the electrification works in Aurangabad district - if they failed to pay him 5 percent of the contract money, and sublet work to his contractor relatives.
Dipak Kumar Singh, DGM, Power Grid Corporation office, told IANS: 'The work of rural electrification in Aurangabad has come to standstill. The engineers fled following threat to their life and the extortion demand.'
Singh said the corporation was trying to convince officials to return.
Naidu, who lodged a complaint against Pandey in Aurangabad district, has been threatened by Pandey for 'daring to lodge a complaint'. Naidu has told his seniors in Patna and New Delhi that he cannot risk staying in Aurangabad.
Another police complaint was lodged in Patna Monday by K.K. Rao, general manager, Vijay Electricals.
Rao in the FIR said Pandey and his accomplice Butas Tiwari called him last Thursday and demanded a 'levy' of 5 percent on the contract involving rural electrification in Bihar. Rao said similar calls were made by Pandey on May 14 and May 21.
Vijay Electricals has been awarded a contract by the Power Grid Corporation to pursue electrification in nine districts. In Aurangabad alone, the contract value is estimated to be Rs. 800-900 million.
Pandey, a known 'bahubali' (muscleman) has been booked before on criminal charges including murder, abduction and extortion.
He was suspended by his party early August when he mocked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's claim of good governance in the state.
Pandey represents the Piro Assembly seat in Bhaohpur district.
Aurangabad district superintendent of police Sushil Khopre said security has been provided to officials to restart work.