New Delhi: As a leading contractor, M/S Heather Constructions Managing Partner, had on Wednesday filed an FIR against Congress president Sonia Gandhi over non payment of dues in Thiruvananthapuram, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Development Studies (RGIDS) on Friday said the widely publicised civil case in connection with the RGIDS in the media has been “settled out of the court”.
“Dragging Sonia Gandhiji in this case was a malafide attempt by the vested interests, which is unfounded and baseless,” said RGIDS director and former Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) general secretary Hidur Mohamed in a statement issued here.
The Director said, “RGIDS is a society registered under the Societies Act. The office bearers of this society comprise, former KPCC general secretary Hidur Muhammed as Director, along with KPCC president V.M. Sudheeran, Ramesh Chennithala, Oommen Chandy, P P Thankachan, Thennala Balakrishnan, Thalekunnil Basheer, C.V. Padmarajan, and Prof. G. Balachandran as its members.”
“Soniaji is in no way connected to this institution and it is very unfortunate that the media propagated this false news,” said the Director, reiterating that “such news is baseless”. In his complaint, Heather Constructions managing partner Rajeev alleged that he was given a contract for building the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Development Studies in Thiruvananthapuram, however, the KPCC now saying that it has no money for project.
Importantly, the project to build RGIDS was commissioned by former KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala. Sonia Gandhi had inaugurated the institute in October 2005. The Congress chief had reportedly asked the KPCC to settle the dues after the company sent a legal notice. The company, however, claimed that it did not receive any money following which an FIR was filed. Heather Constructions had reportedly also threatened to move court over “non payment of dues over construction of Rajiv Gandhi’s statue at Neyyar Dam”.
Later, reacting to the news, Congress spokesman R.S. Surjewala said, “Contractor had filed a civil suit, the issue has been nearly sorted out. Within 24 hours, all parties will sit together and settle the issue.” Defending Congress chief, Surjewala added, “Neither any criminality is involved nor any default of payment has taken place. Only a small payment of Rs 2 crores is pending.” Sources close to Congress party claim that the dues were not cleared because of an intra-party feud in the Kerala unit of the Congress.