Murder attempt on Senior RVNL Officer’s life in Odisha; ARSS Chairman arrested

Police said Subash Agarwal, Chairman of ARSS, a listed company, allegedly hired two youths to fire at Ajay Kumar, joint general manager of projects at RVNL

Bhubaneswar (BBS): A murder attempt in broad daylight on senior railway official working in Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) Mr.Ajay Kumar in Bhubaneswar on Saturday has created a flutter among officers working on crucial projects.

Kumar, who is working as Joint General Manager with RVNL is engaged on the 100-km Angul-Sukinda rail line project in Odisha which is a priority for the NDA government.

“Kumar was attacked as he noticed financial irregularities by an influential local contractor working on the project. The attack was to intimidate him and also to demoralize others,” a senior colleague of Kumar in RVNL said.

The incident once again highlighted the problems faced by honest and bright officers in the current set-up.

When contacted, RVNL’s CMD Satish Agnihotri said, “Kumar is a very honest officer. We are getting full support of the state government.”

In his complaint , Mr. Kumar had named ARSS chief as the person behind the attack.“We have come across many incidents which had direct links with the current attack. ARSS is a contractor in the Angul-Sukinda railway project. The Railway Joint GM had slapped fines on ARSS for not adhering to project parameters. Mr. Agarwal had bullied Mr. Kumar in the month of February last,” Satyabrarata Bhoi, Deputy Commissioner of Police, said.

Another official said, “The Angul-Sukinda project is being executed by Woodhill-Hillway JV which has sub-contracted the work to a local contractor — ARSS Infrastructure Project Ltd.” Police has arrested Chairman of ARSS Ltd Mr.Subash Agarwal for masterminding the attack on Kumar.

Kumar was fired at by three bike-born unidentified assailants while he was going to his home in Shree Vihar at about 2 pm yesterday. He, however, escaped unhurt as the bullets fired missed him and hit his car instead.

“Sir was going to his residence in Shree Vihar at 2 pm when three men stopped his car (OD-02-T-9163), and opened fire at him. But fortunately, he escaped unhurt,” Tribikram Paikaray, driver of Kumar, had told media persons yesterday.

He had also informed that the goons had asked Kumar to go back to his native place in Bihar.

Kumar, who stays at 6th Avenue in Shree Vihar in Chandrasekharpur, however, had not commented on the incident.

“Agarwal engaged the goons who shot at Kumar,” commissioner of police R P Sharma said. The attackers are yet to be arrested.

Police said Agarwal had been trying to settle scores with Kumar, who found fault with the company’s work. “Kumar looks after the quality of work of the Angul-Sukinda broad gauge project. He detected poor quality of work by ARSS and slapped penalty of over Rs 21 lakh on the firm in the last one-and-a-half years,” Sharma said.

Agarwal denied the charges. “I am not involved in the firing on the RVNL officer. The allegations against me are baseless. I have been falsely implicated in the case,” he said.

“In February this year, Agarwal visited Kumar’s office and warned him of dire consequences if he did not stop imposing fines. He even asked Kumar to take transfer to Bihar. Though Kumar did not bring the matter to our notice, he discussed the matter with his senior officers and sought action against ARSS,” Sharma said.

The company, which was incorporated in 2000, is a growing construction firm in the country, focusing on construction of highways, buildings and rail projects. The company has completed 80 projects across the country with contract value of over Rs 700 crore.

Mr.Agarwal, a graduate in commerce from Berhampur University, is the founding member of the ARSS with an experience of 20 years in the execution of railway and road projects. The group has business interests in real estate, steel and power and cement. The company has also executed many projects under the Pradhan Mantri Gramya Sadak Yojana and also projects of the central public works department and the state public works department.

Based on circumstantial evidence and the recent hostility between Agarwal and Kumar, police raided the businessman’s house in Nayapalli and arrested him. Police said they faced a tough challenge from Agarwal’s security men and family members, who were not ready to allow the cops to enter the house.

The Angul-Sukinda rail line is a key infrastructure project aimed at faster movement of iron ore from Keonjhar-Bansapani belt and coal from Talcher belt through an alternative route. It will also provide rail connectivity to around 100 villages.

Key Features of the Project
State : Odisha
Districts : Angul, Dhenkanal & Jajpur
Length : 95.165 km + 7 km for ‘Y’ connection (Total – 102.165 km)
Principal Commodities : Coal & Iron – Ore
Year of Sanction : 1997-98
Original Cost : Rs. 245 Crores
Updated Cost
(incl electrification)
: Rs. 1202.70 Crores (Last updated)
Authorised Share Capital : Rs. 600.00 Crores
Key Financial Indicator (KFI) : As per study done by M/s Feedback Infra Pvt Ltd., New Delhi
Expenditures (Provisional) upto 31.03.2015 : Rs. 157.14 Crores (Provisional)
Roadbed Works : 1. From Km 19 to Km 47
2. From Km 0 to Km 19 and Km 47 to Km 97
Private Land : 1205.501 Acre
Govt Land : 222.505 Acre
Forest Land : 350.566 Acre
Major Bridges : 37 Nos (Longest Bridge: Br. No. 12 on Brahmani river – Length – 959.70 Meters) Click to See Details
Minor Bridges : 179 Nos
No. of Stations : 11+2 Nos (for Y Connections)
Road Over Bridges : 25 Nos
Road Under Bridges : 34 Nos
Level Crossing (Manned) : 5 Nos
Level Crossing (UN-Manned) : 4 Nos
Linking Track : 120 km