Why is your ride between Bandra and Borivli bumpy? A 5,136-page charge sheet on the multi-crore road scam has the answer.
The charge sheet against three Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation officials on the Rs352.16 crore scam shows that while Rs18.74 crore was allotted to build or repair 11 roads in the western suburbs, the six appointed used just Rs10.22 crore, duping the civic body of Rs8.52 crore.
The BMC officials charged in the case are Ashok Pawar, the chief engineer (roads & transport), Uday Namdeo Murudkar, the chief engineer (vigilance) and Kishore Yerme, the executive engineer (roads, western suburbs).
A probe by deputy commissioner Vasant Prabhu and chief engineer (vigilance) Shitala Prasad Kori on 34 roads spread across the city revealed just how much the civic body was short-changed. The inquiry found contractors used less material while building or repairing the roads — reducing the thickness and quality of the road and pocketing the remaining amount.
In south Mumbai, the contractors were to use material worth Rs5.98 crore to construct the foundation crust of 14 roads, but they only used material worth Rs4.68 crore, the charge sheet says. In the eastern suburbs, the construction of nine roads saw similar misuse. The contractors used material worth Rs1.3 crore against the Rs2.46 crore sanctioned to them.
The charge sheet goes on to mention engineers employed by the third-party auditor, SGS India Private Limited, meant to ensure quality and make sure rules are not broken, were also involved with both BMC officials and the contractors to give false reports and not bringing to light substandard work.
The preliminary probe also found the contractors submitted bogus bills, worth Rs3.85 crore for transport of debris.
The police officials investigating the scam began from the time tenders were floated, to find the tenders were manipulated to suit only the six contractors. “The conditions in the tender were such that no company other than these six could apply,” said a senior police officer, not wishing to be named.
“But the scam gets enormous when an engineer of the municipal corporation visits the site for which the tender was floated, and submits an estimate that is 40% more than the actual cost of construction. There is a so-called bidding process, where the work is assigned to one of the six contractors who bids the lowest,” the officer said.
Both BMC officials and contractors benefitted from the scam, the officer said.
“On the price for constructing a road, 15% of the total cost was distributed among BMC officials involved in the scam, while the contractor made a profit between 30% and 35%.”
Azad Maidan police recorded statements of 47 witnesses to corroborate the case that was registered in April.
FIRs were registered under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for criminal conspiracy, falsifyig documents, cheating and forgery.