The state government on Wednesday admitted there were financial irregularities in the contracts given out by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for desilting, road repair works and procurement of anaesthesia machines.
The state said the economic offences wing (EOW) has been asked to look into the irregularities, to which the Opposition legislators demanded a special investigation team (SIT) probe and special audit of the BMC by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). The proceedings of the legislative council, too, were disrupted for some time.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, in a written reply, admitted that financial irregularities were found in the investigations carried out by the BMC administration. Consequently, the BMC has suspended its 14 officials found involved in the irregularities in desilting works. An FIR has also been filed against them. The BMC administration has also filed an FIR against three contractors who carried out the desilting work, vehicle tracking system (VTS) contractor and three bridge contractors at the Azad Maidan police station. The case was later transferred to the EOW for further investigation, the CM said.
Moreover, cases were also filed with the EOW against the 24 contractors related to desilting work, two VTS contractors and 8 bridge contractors. The CM said show-cause notices were issued to them, asking why they shouldn’t be black-listed, he said.
CM Fadnavis said in case of procuring anesthesia machines, the BMC was cheated by the contractor. The BMC authorities have permanently black-listed the contractor and a firm, Universal Organics. The BMC has also forfeited their deposits and has cancelled their vendor registration. A complaint has been registered at the Agripada police station.
After the government’s confession, the Congress and NCP legislators started demanding formation of an SIT comprising officers from the EOW and ACB. NCP legislator Sunil Tatkare said how an impartial probe should be conducted by the BMC, when its own officers were found involved in the scam. He even demanded the BMC should be dissolved. The question was kept pending as the Opposition was not satisfied with answers from the government.