MUMBAI: Widening the scope of the probe into the road repair scam, the Mumbai police have formed a special investigation team (SIT). The six-member team headed by the assistant commissioner of police (ACP), Colaba, has started its investigations into road works worth Rs352 crore based on a complaint by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The move assumes significance in the backdrop of the bitter tussle between ruling allies BJP and Shiv Sena, ahead of next year’s civic polls. The BJP leaders have already demanded a thorough probe into the scam.
“The investigation was getting lengthy owing to a lot of paper work and it is not possible for only one officer to carry out the probe. Recently, we have formed a SIT of three police sub-inspectors, one police inspector and one more officer under the ACP, Colaba,” said Manoj Sharma, deputy commissioner of police (DCP), zone 1.
The SIT has been asked to finish the probe as soon as possible, but they haven’t been given a deadline.
After finding irregularities in repair work of 34 roads, an FIR was registered at the Azad Maidan police station against six contractors — KR Construction, J Kumar, RPS Infraprojects, RK Madhani, Mahavir Infraprojects and Relcon Infraprojects — and two-third party auditors — SGS Consultancy and IRS (Indian Register of Shipping) — appointed for quality checks. Last year, in a similar scam, involving desilting work of the storm water drains, the police had transferred the case to the economic offence wing (EOW) as there were allegations of financial fraud. However, in this case, the police have chosen to form a SIT.
A senior police officer said since the details provided by the BMC in this case are not adequate, the case has not been transferred to the EOW. “We need to make the case stronger and then we will decide whether it needs to be transferred to the EOW,” said the officer.
The BMC’s inquiry report has t wo dif f erent f i gures related to the loss owing to the scam. While the civic body’s final inquiry report says that the corporation suffered a loss of Rs14 crore, the FIR pegs the loss at Rs11 crore.
Civic chief Ajoy Mehta had ordered a probe into road repair works in October 2015, after mayor Snehal Ambekar wrote a confidential letter to him, alleging malpractices and corruption. After an inquiry, the BMC had suspended two chief engineers, who were held guilty of failing to supervise and monitor the work.