Maharashtra CM’s secretary favours private firm in allotting contracts, says Sanjay Nirupam

He said Pravin Darade played a key role in allotting contracts for towing vans and software related contracts by various government agencies

mumbai Updated: Nov 18, 2017 00:38 IST
Surendra Gangan
Surendra Gangan
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maharashtra,Sanjay Nirupam
Sanjay Nirupam talks to the media at MRCC office on Friday. (Bhushan Koyande/HT)

Congress’ city unit chief Sanjay Nirupam has alleged that Pravin Darade, secretary to chief minister and additional metropolitan commissioner of Maharashtra Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), has flouted norms to favour a private firm in allotting contracts.

Nirupam said Darade played a key role in allotting contracts for towing vans and software work by various government agencies. Darade and the chief minister’s office have denied the allegations calling them malafide.

Nirupam, who alleged that this was a case of crony capitalism by CM Devendra Fadnavis, said the company was given several contracts in various departments after the BJP-led government took over in 2014. Nirupam said the government tweaked the conditions of the contract to favour the firm. He also alleged that after the company was given the contract, the charges went up by 430%.

“The company prospered only after the Fadnavis government took over. Darade, as secretary to chief minister, has played an important role in all these allotments. He had given the contracts of computer operations and software application to the firm when he was heading the Nagpur Improvement Trust in 2014. After he was shifted to CMO, the firm was allotted contracts in Mumbai, Thane, Amravati collectorates and railway commissionerate. The firm was given the contract of towing two and four wheelers by Mumbai police despite the fact that the firm had never operated in this field. The firm has also been illegally given a space of 1,000 sq ft at headquarters of the traffic police at Worli without charging any rent,” said Nirupam.

The CMO has issued a clarification over these allegations saying they are baseless and were levelled with malafide intentions. “Neither CMO not Darade is involved in allotment of these contracts. It was allotted by joint commissioner of police only after appointing KPMG as technical consultant. The firm was selected as it quoted a lowest period of seven years. It was also appointed to introduce state of the art mechanism in towing as Bombay high court had expressed unhappiness over the techniques in practice. However, a writ petition has been filed in the allotment of the contract and the government will present its stand in the court,” the statement issued by CMO said.

While defending himself, Darade said, “I have nothing to do with the firm. It was allotted the contract by the BMC in 2011, even before I was transferred to Mumbai in 2014. It is an attempt to malign my image.”

Meanwhile, Nirupam also pointed at the high charges being levied for illegal parking. “The penalty for illegal parking has gone up to Rs426 for two-wheelers and Rs660 for four-wheelers from merely Rs150 to Rs200. This is a loot,” he said.

First Published: Nov 18, 2017 00:38 IST