A tainted civic contractor, earlier disqualified for concealing information while bagging a road construction contract, is all set to start work now on a water project after paying a paltry fine of Rs 5 lakh. The contractor, RP Shah Infraprojects Ltd (RPS Infra), had concealed the same information while bidding for the water project as well.
Insiders say the Rs 5 lakh fine is paltry, considering that the cost of the project is a whopping Rs 71 crore.
The firm had first concealed information while bidding for a road construction contract in early September. The roads department later cleared it of any malafide intentions. The firm would not have been eligible to bag the contract if it had disclosed the information.
A senior civic official in the hydraulic engineer's department, who did not wish to be named, said, "Our probe has found that the firm could not furnish the latest information about its ongoing project and hence had to submit older certificates, which revealed old information. We have not found any malafide intentions."
The firm is currently executing the work of building retaining walls along the Mithi river, a contract it had originally bagged for Rs 97 crore. The cost of this contract later rose to Rs140 crore due to variations, but the firm did not mention this while submitting its bid. This fact helped it to show an exaggerated bidding capacity for the roads contract, for which the firm had quoted Rs 72 crore.
However, officials in the hydraulic engineer's department said that not revealing the exact status of the project while bidding for the water project did not affect the contractor's bid. "However, since revealing the information would have made no difference to the bid, we let off the contractor with a fine, instead of taking any other action."
RPS Infra has now been told to go ahead with the water project. The firm's owner, Nitin Shah, said, "We have been fined around Rs 5 lakh. We have been instructed by BMC officials to start work on the project immediately."