The Maharashtra Lokayukta on Tuesday criticised the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the police over the road repairs scam and ordered that action be taken against guilty civic officials under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The order by Lokayukta justice (retired) ML Tahaliyani came after Right-to Information activist Anil Galgali complained to the anti-corruption body that the BMC had awarded contracts to build bridges to two contractors named in the road repairs scam.
According to civic officials, at the hearing, justice Tahaliyani said that such corruption was not possible without the connivance of officials, and that action should be taken against them. The Lokayukta directed the police to initiate action against such officers.
In April, after registering a police complaint against six contractors over the scam, the BMC awarded contracts to construct bridges at Sandhurst Road, Yari Road, Mithi river and Vikroli to two tainted contractors – RPS Infra Projects and J Kumar. So far, the police have arrested 22 people, including contractors and third-party auditors, over the scam.
Galgali said, “Civic officials who helped the contractors should also be punished as they helped the contractors and kept silent about malpractices. On one hand they lodged a police complaint against the tainted firms and on the other they awarded them contracts.”
The hearing was attended by Manoj Sharma, deputy commissioner of police, zone 1, S O Kori, chief engineer (bridges), and Laxman Vhatkar, director (engineering services) of the BMC.
A complaint filed by opposition leader Pravin Chheda was merged with Galgali’s. Chheda alleged in his complaint that the civic body is misleading citizens by claiming the road repairs scam is worth only Rs 14 crore.