Almost a year after ordering an inquiry, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will soon release its comprehensive report over the irregularities in the Rs 38-crore desilting scam and is likely to blacklist 32 contractors, said civic officials.
The report will come after an earlier attempt by the BMC to blacklist contractors was botched when the Bombay high court called the decision ‘illegal’ in December 2015.
After the June 19 flooding in 2015, civic chief Ajoy Mehta had ordered a probe against contractors and civic officials who were alleged to have carried out shoddy cleaning of storm water drains in various parts of the city.
The contractors allegedly showed inflated bills and used two-wheelers, jeeps and other light vehicles, instead of the open dumpers specified in the tender conditions.
Acting on the preliminary inquiry report in December, the BMC had blacklisted the 32 tainted contractors, who later approached the Bombay high court for relief and argued that they had not been granted ‘an opportunity of being heard’ before being blacklisted. On December 22, 2015, the court said that the BMC’s order appeared ‘prima facie illegal’ and that no action can be taken on the basis of the order.
The BMC inquiry had stated that the contractors in connivance with civic officials attempted a scam of Rs38 crore, which was 70% of the total amount of the desilting contracts for the year 2015-2016 by submitting bogus bills and civic officials approving such bills.
The report suggested serious administrative action against the civic officials who were allegedly involved in helping contractors to carry out fraudulent practices.
As part of the inquiry, civic officials were to upload the data of the 56,000 trips, for which they sent bills to the administration. Nine lakh documents pertaining to the 56,000 trips were to be uploaded and verified.