Controversial BJP MLA threatens contractor, demands a “cut” in fund for public works

By Siddhant Mohan,

A Yavatmal-based government contractor has alleged BJP MLA Arni Raju Todsam of harassing him for a “cut” from the money allocated for public works taking place in his constituency.

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An audio clip, including the talk between the two, has been made public, in which the MLA can be heard telling contractor Sharma of completing “his work” before, hinting towards a cut from the funds allocated for the public works.

Shivdutt Lakhmichand Sharma is a government contractor based in Yavatmal district in Maharashtra. Sharma usually bids for tenders related to public works. On September 6, he received a call from Arni MLA Raju Todsam who belongs to Bharatiya Janta Party.

Initially, Raju Todsam asked about the works Sharma is pursuing in his area, then he asked Sharma to complete his work.

Talking with, Sharma said, “His intentions were clear. He wanted a ‘cut’ as money from the funds allocated for the works in his area.”

According to Sharma, Todsam demanded a 5% of the total project cost. However, in the audio recording of the call, Todsam does not specifically talk about the money.

Todsam can be heard threatening Sharma that he would not allow him to complete the works in his area if Todsam’s demands aren’t met.

The audio clip shows Sharma begging before Todsam of letting him continue the work without paying him. Sharma can be heard saying, “Aap sau logon se lete hoge, ek se nahin loge to bhi chal jayega.” (You could be taking [money] from hundred people, it won’t hurt if you don’t take from one.)

Sharma had also threatened Todsam of complaining about this to higher authorities, but Todsam showed negligence of this fact and said: “Jao, CM se kah do jaakar.” (Go, you can complain to the Chief Minister.)

Sharma is fighting hard as his 25-year-old son is in the comma since seven months following a major accident on Pune-Mumbai Expressway. Sharma said, “How am I able to bribe anyone? I have spent about Rs 70 lakh on my son’s treatment, who is dying every day. I told Todsam about this, but he was relentless to pay attention to this.”

Fearing for his life, Sharma has submitted an application to the Wadgaon Police station in Yavatmal, in which he has mentioned that if anything happens to him, Todsam shall be held responsible.

Despite repeated attempts, was unable to reach MLA Raju Todsam to get his side of the story. On the other hand, several office bearers of the party refused to talk on the matter.

This is not the first time that Todsam has come in news for harassing someone. In 2015, Todsam was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for abusing and assaulting an employee of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL).