The civic body’s standing committee on Wednesday saw two corporators, one from the Congress and the other from the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), levelling charges of corruption and nepotism against deputy municipal commissioner (hawkers removal) Chandrashekhar Rokde.
Congress corporator Waqarunissa Ansari alleged that Rokde had auctioned off 3186 scrap vehicles at a cheap rate, without following proper procedure. Ansari, and MNS corporator Mangesh Sangle alleged that Rokde caused ‘tremendous loss to the civic exchequer’ and demanded an inquiry against Rokde, who was suspended earlier on a similar charge.
Rokde has been spearheading a drive against illegal hawkers on the city's roads—a task, he believed, earned him political enemies. “I followed proper procedure. Due to new policies, we earned Rs1.5 crore—much more than the estimated Rs1 crore,” said Rokde. He said he was being targeted because of the corporators’ personal interests.
“Rokde should have submitted evaluation of the vehicles to BMC chief Subodh Kumar in a sealed cover. He is also supposed to inform the standing committee of the auction,” said Ansari.
“It is well within my powers to auction these vehicles without the BMC chief’s nod. There is no procedure of informing the standing committee, since these vehicles were not municipal property,” said Rokde.
“Rokde was accompanied by goons and was threatening other bidders. We have a video clip showing this. Material worth Rs15 crore was sold off for a mere Rs1.4 crore. Some scrap vehicles were sold for as less as Rs 300. I have written to the commissioner asking for cancellation of this auction and issuing new tenders. I also asked for strict action against Rokde if found guilty,” said Sangle.
Rokde said he already apprised Kumar of the situation and was ready to face the charges.