Over two years after the inquiry into the `2-crore mild-steel pipeline scam was left hanging, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) has finally woken up and handed over the probe to its additional commissioner-cum-vigilance officer Sarita Malik.
The case pertains to the laying of 600mm mild-steel (MS) pipe for supplying water from the Sector-39 waterworks to Chandimandir cantonment.
MC officials had allegedly favoured a private firm, PipeConstruction Company, by inflating the costs, causing a loss of `2 crore to the military engineering service (MES).
“I received the file only a few days back, and will soon conduct the inquiry. The probe should hopefully be completed in a month,” Malik said.
BJP councillor Saurabh Joshi, who raised the issue in the MC House, said, “The poor functioning of civic body has come to fore. It has been more than two years since the inquiry was left midway, yet nothing has been done so far.”
In May 2012, the then MC vigilance officer Lalit Siwach was handed the probe. But 18 months later he claimed that he could not conduct the inquiry as he “was too busy”, was now been repatriated, and hence the case be given to another officer.
Later, in December, 2013, MC commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh said the civic body would write to the UT administration to hand over the inquiry to another officer.
It is only now, two years later, that the probe has been handed over to the current MC vigilance officer.
An audit report of the UT accountant general had in November 2012 stated that the MC’s public health department had allegedly favoured a Vadodara company by splitting the nearly 15-km pipeline project into four parts to facilitate an undue profit of `70 lakh to the firm.
The audit report also questioned why the public health department had floated a detailed notice inviting tenders for `9,340 a metre when the agency had quoted `8,030 a metre for the project.
Started in 2009, the project is now almost complete. But, how the MC will recover the loss is a question which is yet to be answered.