The street furniture project is caught in crossfire between the Shiv Sena and the Congress. Both are accusing each other of being corrupt.
Sena corporator Prabhakar Shinde had alleged that Congress corporators Rajhans Singh and Sameer Desai had signed an agreement, which gave advertising rights of Rs 600 crore to seven companies in return of setting up street furniture on city roads, without the approval of the BMC standing committee.
Rebutting the charges, the Congress on Friday dug up the past and showed papers of an agreement between the civic body and a private company that had been given similar rights. The signature on the agreement belonged to Sena corporators Rajul Patel and Akhil Bharatiya Sena corporator Vandana Gawli.
Singh said: “We had signed the agreement as witnesses. Under section 70 (20) of the BMC Act, it is mandatory for the municipal secretary department to affix the common seal of the corporation on any agreement in the presence of two standing committee members just like Patel and Gawli did. If we are being charged for corruption, then why are they being spared?” asked Singh.
He also alleged that if the Congress was being attacked for corruption of Rs 600 crore, then the 12 agreements, which Patel and Gawli had signed, amounted to advertising rights of Rs 3,000 crore.
Both parties also said the project was not tabled in front of the standing committee, works committee nor does it have a clearance from the civic general body which is mandatory under the BMC Act.
The BMC has asked for a legal opinion on this issue. KK Singhvi, the BMC counsel in his report, has said that because the civic body was not going to incur any expense in this project, there was no need for the project to have standing committee’s sanction.
Corporator Prabhakar Shinde said he would be move court against the way the administration is functioning. Rahul Shewale, standing committee chairman, directed the civic body to scrap the agreement.
Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner, said the original agreement signed with the private players said they had exclusive advertising rights.
However, this clause has been now defined after a meeting with the municipal commissioner. Now, the private companies will only advertise on the street furniture that they install and nowhere else,” said Mhaiskar.