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  Report into Rs 1,800 crore scam sent back

Report into Rs 1,800 crore scam sent back

Published : Sep 15, 2016, 3:25 am IST
Updated : Sep 15, 2016, 3:25 am IST

Senior Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials have sent back an ‘indecipherable’ report submitted by a civic team probing shoddy pre-monsoon road repair work in a scam worth Rs 1,800 crore

File photo of potholes at RC Road, Chembur
 File photo of potholes at RC Road, Chembur

Senior Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials have sent back an ‘indecipherable’ report submitted by a civic team probing shoddy pre-monsoon road repair work in a scam worth Rs 1,800 crore, asking the team to furnish in 10 days a readable, more compact copy on the findings.

The 2,000-page report was submitted in a tabular format and gave exhaustive technical details but sorely lacked conclusive findings. The senior officials have now given the inquiry team 10 days to submit the report on their findings in a descriptive format, not tabular. On its submission, the report will be forwarded to the BMC chief, municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta, for scrutiny. The department has asked for an additional 15 days from Mr Mehta to submit the final copy to him.

The BMC inspected a total of 200 roads, and found anomalies in all of them, amounting to a scam of about Rs 1,800 crore. Sources revealed that several officials of the roads department are likely to be indicted this time, for overlooking the shoddy work carried out by contractors.

Meanwhile, a senior civic official said this report will not be any different in its findings from the previous report filed in April.

As a precursor to this report, the inquiry team had examined 34 roads earlier this year, and submitted its findings to Mr Mehta. As an average of 53 per cent of anomalies were found in all 34 roads, the BMC blacklisted six contractors and suspended the chief engineers of the vigilance and roads departments. Following this, an FIR was lodged in the matter, and the two civic officials were also arrested by the police.

Meanwhile, the senior civic official quoted above said, “The mistake was that everybody relied on third party auditors for ensuring that the quality of work produced is up to the mark. The third party auditors have good credentials, so this should not have happened. But they hire people on a contractual basis, who passed the audit report of all roads in a jiffy, owing to the pressure of deadlines.”

Currently, the BMC has withheld all payment to the indicted contractors and they will have to redo all road works.

BMC has now published a booklet with ward-wise details of all roads that are being repaired. Other details include the name of the contractor undertaking repair work, the extent of the work, the patch of the road to be repaired and name of the official in charge of looking over the work, along with relevant phone numbers. All wards have been given a copy.