The investigation into the Rs340crore road scam led to the arrest of five more engineers working for the contractors on Monday. This brings the total arrests in the case to 19.
An inquiry into the alleged irregularities in repair/reconstruction had revealed contractors had carried out substandard work and manipulated records for 34 roads.
The arrested accused are Amar Rajaram Kamble, 32, Vel Maharajan Nadar, 28, Pravin Prabhakar Panchal, 21, Dilip Ashok Rathod, 36, and Viraj Ramesh Patil, 36.
Explaining the roles of the accused, an officer from Azad Maidan police station said, “The five accused, who worked for contractors, signed on their behalf on all documents. They were responsible for the shoddy work.”
Mumbai police spokesperson Ashok Dudhe confirmed the arrests.
However, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is yet to blacklist the contractors and third-party quality auditors, who are the main culprits in the scam.
Civic chief Ajoy Mehta had asked officials to initiate the process for blacklisting six contractors involved in malpractices in April, but it has been delayed on frivolous grounds. The process involves issuing show-cause notices and giving them a hearing. While the notices were sent in May, the contractors have replied to it asking the civic body to provide the documents related to road works. Civic sources said a hearing can be held only after these documents are given.
Corporators have alleged the civic road department officials connived with the contractors to delay the process. The reply has been sent to the two civic departments – roads and vigilance departments -- responsible for causing the delay, alleged the corporators.
Rais Shaikh, group leader of Samajwadi Party, said, “They are delaying the blacklisting procedure. It is clear the officials are helping the contractors.” Sandeep Deshpande, group leader of MNS, said, “The administration is not serious about taking action against officials or contractors.”