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Graft charges against MTDC chief

india Updated: Jan 20, 2009 14:45 IST
Yogesh Joshi

Charges of large-scale corruption in the allotment of tenders and contracts have been levelled against a top official of the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC).

Cognisance of the accusations against MTDC General Manager Vijay Chavan has been taken at the highest level and an inquiry initiated on the orders of Minister of State for Tourism Suresh Shetty.

The inquiry decision was the result of a complaint that bribes and kickbacks to the tune of crores of rupees had influenced the award of several contracts.

The complaint was sent by a senior MTDC employee, whose name was not revealed by the authorities, to top people in the government and the administration.

Crockery, furniture and television set contracts, even a work order to paint the super-luxury tourist train Deccan Odyssey, were among the decisions questioned, a copy of the complaint showed.

Among the recipients of the complaint were the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister, the Tourism Minister, the Additional Chief Secretary, and the Managing Director and the Joint Managing Director of MTDC.

Shetty asked Additional Chief Secretary, Tourism, Joyce Shankaran to launch an initial investigation, and the bureaucrat forwarded the request to MTDC Managing Director Jayant Gaikwad.

Shankaran said necessary directions had been given for an internal enquiry.

“I got to know about the complaint last week, following which I have asked the MD (managing director), MTDC, to conduct an initial enquiry,” Shankaran said.

Gaikwad said an inquiry had been initiated.

“I have asked some senior official of MTDC to conduct the probe,” Gaikwad said.

Chavan could not be reached for comment, his office staff stalling all calls saying he was busy.

The complaint, made on December 29, alleged “cash benefits were taken by Chavan for a bamboo furniture contract” while “furniture purchase was done of a higher value in the year 2007 for Malshej Ghat MTDC Resort and the orders were given for huge amount of cash as bribe to GM – Shri. Vijay Chavan”.

At another place, the complaint stated:

“The painting of Deccan Odyssey train tender worth Rs. 37 Lakhs was allotted against a very large amount of bribe.

The kind of low quality job can be seen by inspecting the present condition of train”.