A controversy broke out at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) office after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) released an audio clip of a recorded conversation between mayor Snehal Ambekar and MNS group leader Sandeep Deshpande over the distribution of civic funds.
The MNS has alleged the distribution of development funds is influenced by the contractors. It has registered a complaint with the anti-corruption bureau (ACB), seeking a probe into the issue.
Ambekar, on the other hand, accused the MNS of recording her conversation without her permission and registered a case against Deshpande at Azad Maidan police station.
The controversy was related to the allocation of Rs100 crore fund to corporators to spend on development work in their ward.
The Congress and MNS have been alleging that a majority of this fund went to the corporators from ruling parties instead of an equitable distribution among all elected representatives.
The conversation was recorded by Deshpande when Ambekar called him to inform him how the funds were being allocated. Both Ambekar and Deshpande admitted to the media that the audio recording was their conversation.
Deshpande alleged the contractors were calling the shots. Ambekar, however, rubbished the allegations, asking how contractors could be involved as all the work orders were issued through e-tendering, an online procedure.
“There needs to be an ACB inquiry on this matter. There is a nexus between her and the contractors,” said Deshpande.
Meanwhile, leader of House, Trushna Vishwasrao (Sena) rushed to the defence of Ambekar saying: “Whatever the MNS has done is absolutely wrong. How could Desphande record a conversation without the mayor’s knowledge? There needs to be serious action against such behaviour. The audio released also shows how the relations among the party members are. We have registered a FIR against him.”
Meanwhile, the ACB stated they have asked the corporator to give details pertaining to the allegations. “We have asked Deshpande to furnish details. He said he would come on Tuesday,” said Praveen Dixit, director general of police, ACB.