A special investigation team of the Mumbai police that is investigating the multi-crore road repairs scam arrested two chief engineer of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) at 6am on Thursday.
According to the police, Ashok Padamsingh Pawar, chief engineer (roads), and Uday Namdeo Murudkar, chief engineer (vigilance), have been with the BMC for more than 20 years.
The number of people arrested over the scam now stands at 24. The 22 people arrested earlier include 12 junior employees of the six tainted construction firms and 10 employees of two third-party auditors. All 22 are out on bail.
A senior police officer, who did not wish to be named, said, “The two accused had signed all the documents and helped clear the contractors’ estimates for the road repairs. We have arrested them because they played a role in making bad-quality roads and cost the BMC money.”
He added, “Both the chief engineers approved the roads constructed by six tainted contractors. But later, after the scam came to light and a case was registered, they issued a report claiming that the roads were made using sub-standard materials.”
BMC chief Ajoy Mehta had ordered an inquiry into shoddy road repairs last October, after mayor Snehal Ambekar sent him a letter alleging malpractice and corruption.
The BMC set up an inquiry committee and considered 34 roads - 14 in south Mumbai, 11 in the western suburbs and nine in the eastern suburbs – in the first phase. The inquiry team found huge irregularities in their repair and reconstruction. Following this, Mehta suspended the two chief engineers and initiated the process of blacklisting the six tainted construction firms and two third-party auditors. However, this process is yet to be completed.
The BMC also lodged a complaint at Azad Maidan police station in April, following which the police registered a first information report under sections 120A (criminal conspiracy), 197 (producing false documents) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code. The case is being investigated by an officer of the level of an assistant commissioner of police.