350-crore road scam in Mumbai: Supplementary charge sheet names 32 more people
The number of accused now stands at 65.mumbai Updated: Aug 10, 2018 00:32 IST
The 9,000-page supplementary charge sheet filed by the special investigating team (SIT) of the Mumbai police on Wednesday held 39 more people – 22 site engineers, 16 third-party quality auditors and one Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official – responsible for the ₹350-crore road scam that came to light in 2015.
The earlier 5,136-page charge sheet filed in 2016 had named one BMC engineer, 26 third party-quality site auditors, 34 contractors and site engineers. The number of accused now stands at 65.
The civic body ordered a probe into repairs of 34 roads, after then mayor Snehal Ambekar wrote to municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta about the inferior quality and corruption. The inquiry found the contractors did not use the amount of material needed to build or repair the roads, thus reducing its thickness and pocketing the remaining amount.
According to the charge sheet, ₹18.74 crore was allotted to build or repair 11 roads in the western suburbs, but the contractors used only ₹10.22 crore, duping the civic body of the remaining ₹8.52 crore. In south Mumbai, the contractors were to use material worth ₹5.98 crore to build the foundation of 14 roads, but they used material worth ₹4.68 crore, the charge sheet states. In the eastern suburbs, material worth ₹1.3 crore was used against the sanctioned ₹2.46 crore for construction of nine roads.
“Twenty-five people were arrested between 2016 and 2017. The others were produced in the court and were left on a cash surety of ₹50,000,” said an officer from SIT, adding that after the FIR was filed, the contractors got anticipatory bail, owing to which they could not be arrested. “The nexus between BMC officials and contractors benefitted both parties.”
The charge sheets stated that engineers employed by the third-party auditor, SGS India Private Limited, to ensure quality also gave false reports so the substandard work wouldn’t come to light.
The preliminary probe found the contractors submitted bogus bills worth ₹3.85 crore for transport of debris. Police said the tenders were manipulated to suit only six contractors.
“An engineer of the municipal corporation visited the site for which the tender was floated, and submitted an estimate that is 40% more than the actual cost of construction. In the bidding process, too, the work was given to only one of the six contractors,” the officer said.
According to the charge sheet, while 15% of the total cost was distributed among BMC officials involved in the scam, the contractor made 30%-35% profit. The Azad Maidan police recorded statements of 47 witnesses.
First Published: Aug 10, 2018 00:32 IST