Two years later, MC’s pipeline scam probe going nowhere

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Oct 27, 2014 12:18 IST

The investigation into laying of steel pipeline for supplying water from the Sector-39 waterworks to the Chandimandir Cantonment has reached nowhere even as the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh had handed over the matter to the UT administration in December last year.

In May 2012, the then vigilance officer of MC, Lalit Siwach, was handed over the probe. Eighteen months later, he claimed that he could not investigate the case since he “was too busy” and hence the case be given to another officer.

Last month, despite the letter of MC additional commissioner to the civic body’s chief engineer asking the latter to send comments in the case to the UT administration for further investigation in the matter, no comments have been forwarded to the secretary local government, UT, so far.

Hindustan Times had highlighted the scam.

Municipal corporation officials had allegedly favoured a private firm, Pipe Construction Company, by inflating the cost, thus causing a loss of Rs 2 crore to the military engineering service (MES), Chandigarh.

When contacted, MC chief engineer Mukesh Anand said, “I have asked for comments from the public health department, but they have not sent me till date. I will take the issue with the superintending engineer of public health department to furnish the report and further send to UT.”

BJP councillor Saurabh Joshi, who raised the issue in the MC House, said, “The poor functioning of the civic body has come to the fore. It is more than two years now but nothing has been done so far.”

It was in December last year when MC commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh said that the civic body would write to the UT administration to hand over the inquiry to another officer.

An audit report of the accountant general, Chandigarh, had in November 2012 stated that the MC’s public health department had allegedly favoured a Vadodara-based company by splitting the nearly 15-kmpipeline project into four parts to facilitate an undue profit of Rs 70 lakh to the firm.

The audit report also questioned as why the public health department had floated a detailed notice inviting tenders for Rs 9,340 a metre when the agency had quoted Rs 8,030 a metre for the project. All this led to alleged transfer of an additional Rs 70 lakh to the company.

Started in 2009, the pipeline-laying project is almost complete. However, how does the municipal corporation recover the loss is a question which remains to be answered.

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