In a clear indication that ongoing turf war between the saffron allies is far from over, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators on Tuesday called for a Special Investigation Team (SIT) led inquiry in the road scam and an overall policy to reign in the blacklisted contractors in this scam.
BJP legislators made this demand in the question hour session of the state assembly and got even support from the Opposition benches, including the Leader of Opposition, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil. The legislators – Ashish Shelar, Atul Bhatkhalkar and Yogesh Sagar – not satisfied with the answer given by the minister of state for urban development department, Ranjit Patil, also sought for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ intervention in the issue but ran out of time.
If the BJP stance in the state assembly is anything to go by the road scam issue is far from over and is likely to get scrutinised once again in this budget session. BJP also intends to use the issue to keep a check on Sena and the functioning of the Mumbai civic body.
The question raised by Shelar pointed out that despite history of irregularities, the BMC’s standing committee (Sena-led) had hurriedly passed road contracts worth thousand of crores in 2017. Many of these contracts, he added, had been given on roads that did not require repairs or like in the case of Jawahar Nagar roads in Goregaon were still in the guarantee period (had to be maintained by the contractors).
``This proposal was passed by the standing committee even though it had been opposed by some. Further, contractors, who have been blacklisted in the BMC’s onging probe have got contracts in other civic bodies. And, as such there is a need to have a clear policy by the state on such contractors,’’ said Shelar.
Bhatkhalkar, in the meanwhile, called for a SIT inquiry in the probe even as Sagar endorsed the demand saying that only an outside committee could do justice to the scam.
While Patil said that ongoing probe into 250 roads had already led to action against errant contracts and officials and similarly action would be taken in other such cases, legislators were not satisfied with the reply. Following this, Vikhe Patil also made a similar demand on the floor of the house.
Sources in the BJP said that the party intended to discuss the road scam in detail and would again demand a SIT inquiry in the same that would make the probe more water tight.
The BJP had last week in a dramatic move pulled out of the mayoral contest despite winning 82 seats in the recently concluded civic polls, just two less than Sena. The decision was taken to avoid rocking the state government boat, where Sena lends crucial support of 63 legislators. The party’s ceasefire with its ally turned rival is however likely to be very short.