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Mumbai civic body reduces punishments of 5 engineers guilty in 2015 roads scam

Action ranged from no raise to cut in pension; BMC cites factual errors in docus based on which punishments were given

mumbai Updated: May 15, 2019 01:31 IST
Eeshanpriya MS
Eeshanpriya MS
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,BMC,roads scam
An MMRDA worker fills potholes at Sion in Mumbai.(HT FILE)

Taking note of their appeals, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has reduced the quantum of punishments of five engineers who were indicted in the 2015 road scam.

Two inquiries conducted over a period of two years held 169 road engineers guilty in the ₹1,700-crore road scam, most for lack of supervision or failing to do their duty efficiently. Hindustan Times had reported in December 2018 that 56 engineers had appealed to a two-member panel of top civic officials for reconsideration of their punishments. The panel submitted its final report to the municipal commissioner in the last week of March. Barring the five, the civic panel, during its hearings, upheld the action against the remaining civic engineers.

Six of the 169, including the chief engineer, assistant engineer, and four sub-engineers, were sacked. The punishments for others ranged from reduced basic pay and no increment for two years to no promotion and reduction in pension.

A senior civic officer privy to the report said, “We have marginally reduced the quantum of punishment given to five officers. For example, if the increment was to be stopped for two years, we have now reduced it to one year, or the amount of basic pay reduced has been changed. The new punishments have been mailed to the officers concerned over the past one month.”

According to the officer, the panel attributed the reduction in punishment to factual errors in the documents on the basis of which the punishments were decided.

“In our original inquiry reports, the BMC graded punishments on the basis of amount of negligence. That hasn’t changed, but some factual errors came to light,” said a senior civic officer. “If an officer was punished for negligence on 60 roads, but was in charge of only 50, his punishments were reduced,” he said.

Activist Shailesh Gandhi said, “If punishment for only five out of 56 officers who had appealed has been reduced, it means the BMC is serious about punishing them for their offences. If the punishment of 50 officers was reduced, I would have said the BMC is unfair. What remains to be seen is if they are actually made to serve the punishment. The civic body should upload the information on their website.”

Ravi Raja, leader of the opposition in the BMC, said, “The biggest problem here is that BMC officers were put in charge of hearing the appeals. We can’t expect 100% objectivity when their colleagues are handling such inquiries or reports.”

First Published: May 15, 2019 01:31 IST