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HindustanTimes Thu,02 Oct 2014

Somaiya attacks Bhujbal, says ready to expose another scam

Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times  Nagpur/Mumbai, May 18, 2013
First Published: 01:40 IST(18/5/2013) | Last Updated: 01:41 IST(18/5/2013)

Keeping up pressure on PWD minister, Chhagan Bhujbal, BJP leader Kirit Somaiya said he would come up with details about corruption in the construction of the Ring Road in Nagpur.

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“I had a meeting with the people concerned, including the members of PWD contractors’ association, who wanted to share the information,” he said adding he would come up with the details  after re-checking facts. He said at least 100 PWD engineers had given contract works to their relatives, violating the service rules and conduct, thanks to Bhujbal.

“We have prepared a list of 19 engineers from PWD who had floated front companies in the names of their wives, sons or daughters to win the department contracts. It has been submitted to the income tax department and secretary of the PWD,” Somaiya said.

“It is up to the agencies to investigate the links between the officers and kickbacks to the companies floated by them. The Income Tax department has assured us action,” he said.

Somaiya had met director general of Income Tax on Wednesday, and demanded suo motto investigation into the accumulation of disproportionate assets of engineers. He also attacked Bhujbal for openly supporting his personal assistant Sandeep Bedse. 

The minister himself paid for advertisements worth Rs. 25 lakh on Bedse’s birthday recently. “There are 150 PAs in the entire PWD. Do all spend so lavishly on their birthdays,” Somaiya asked.

He said Bedse was an agent for routing the kickbacks.  The PWD scam broke out when the anti-corruption department (ACB) raided the home of a Nashik-based PWD executive engineer Satish Chikhlikar two weeks ago.

The raid yielded more than Rs. 15 crore in cash in addition to large quantity of gold and silver jewellery.

Meantime, Bhujbal dismissed Somaiya’s allegations as baseless. “The Maharashtra Civil Service (Conduct and Discipline) Rule 1979 clearly states that unless the vested interests are involved, there is no prohibition on business by any relative of the government employees. If Somaiya proves any conflict of interest with specific documents, we would initiate investigation against the employee,” he said.


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