The Bombay high court has transferred the probe into an alleged scam in allotment of irrigation projects from the Yavatmal police to the local crime branch. While hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by two journalists challenging the allotment of irrigation project to an Akola-based contractor, the Nagpur bench of the high court observed that prima facie there was involvement of senior officials in the alleged scam.
The public interest litigation had alleged that the allotment was made without calling for competitive bids and forged documents were used while allotting the irrigation project.
The high court had earlier directed the Yavatmal police to book the executive engineer and others involved in the scam as a case of misuse of office and fabrication of documents as established by the petitioners.
Following the high court order, a first information report was registered for cheating and forgery against executive engineer SA Vani and his clerk, identified only as Sakpal. On Friday, additional district and sessions judge PS Tarare at Yavatmal rejected Vani’s anticipatory bail application.
The court, however, granted anticipatory bail to Sakpal. The prosecution claimed that the executive engineer had granted contracts for minor irrigation projects to an Akola-based contractor after preparing bogus documents.
Refuting the allegations, Vani claimed that an advertisement with effect to the project was given in a regional newspaper, quotations invited, and then only the project was awarded. When the contractor filed his quotation, the lowest, the contract was given to him. The total cost of the project was Rs 82 lakh.
But no such advertisement was published, the prosecution claimed. Besides, only Vani’s “proxy contractor” filed the tender for the work. Vani had prepared fake paper bills also to substantiate his claim, alleged the prosecution.