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Road scam probe: Unscanned papers delay Mumbai civic body’s action against 100 staffers

BMC has no infrastructure to scan documents, has outsourced work after its engineers demanded documentary evidence to prove their involvement.

mumbai Updated: Nov 13, 2017 09:37 IST
Sanjana Bhalerao
Sanjana Bhalerao
Hindustan Times
There are 180 more engineers who are yet to get notice for shoddy repair work on 200 other roads in the city.(HT File)

Six months after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) sent show-cause notices to 100 engineers in the multi-crore road scam, no further action has been initiated. Reason: The engineers, in their reply to the notices, asked the BMC to provide documentary evidence to prove their involvement. But the richest civic body in the country is still struggling to scan this evidence, which includes road contracts and approvals given by the engineers.

With no infrastructure available to scan the documents on its own, the BMC decided to outsource the work to a company. “We could not just photo-copy the documents, fearing the files might go missing in the process. We have to scan documents, sort it for all the 100 engineers before sending it to each of them. There is a lot of work. We are expecting to finish it by this month, and then the engineers will have 10-15 days to reply,” said a senior civic official, on condition of anonymity.

What makes matters worse is that the show-cause notices were issued to 100 engineers for just 34 roads under scanner in the scam. There are 180 more engineers who are yet to get notice for shoddy repair work on 200 other roads.

While BMC was prompt to order inquiry and take action against road contractors in the scam, — they were blacklisted — this delay is being viewed as a tactic used by the engineers’ lobby in the civic body.

In most of these roads, the inquiry committee had found the use of inferior quality material, differences in the thickness of the roads repaired and what was presented on paper. The inquiry found that at many places, the contractor did not dig roads or remove debris, but claimed transport bills for the work. The inflated and fake transport bills caused the BMC huge losses, the inquiry committee report had said.

In the first phase of the inquiry, two senior officials — former chief engineer roads Ashok Pawar and former chief engineer vigilance Uday Murudkar — were among those arrested.

“They [BMC] are delaying the matter on purpose. After initial action and noise, there has been no follow-up in the case. This clearly shows lack of seriousness on their part,” said Ravi Raja, Congress group leader in BMC.

First Published: Nov 13, 2017 09:37 IST