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HC stays contracts given to tainted firms

mumbai Updated: May 28, 2016 11:29 IST

MUMBAI: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was questioned by the Bombay high court on the work permits given to contractors facing criminal charges over irregularities and its delay in taking action against them. The court has now stayed the contracts of four bridges in the city until June 9.

A division bench of justice Bhushan Gawai and justice Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi, hearing a PIL on the irregularities in awarding contracts to defaulting contractors, noted that even though the police registered a case on April 27 against several defaulting contractors, the officers of the department concerned took action only after 21 days.

The court also noted that in the meantime, a few of these contractors were given fresh contracts for the construction of four bridges — Hancock bridge, a bridge across Mithi river, a bridge at a junction at Yari Road and Lokhandwala back road and an ROB at Vikhroli railway station.

The court asked the municipal commissioner to hold an inquiry to ascertain why there was a delay in the issuance of the show-cause notices.

“When the commissioner has found serious irregularities, they should not have been issued fresh contracts. We leave it to the municipal commissioner to inquire as to whether the order issued for show-cause notice to defaulting contractors with delay had some ulterior motive for protecting these contractors,” observed the court.

The court has now stayed these four contracts and asked all the parties to submit their replies in the meantime. The PIL was filed by Jayshree Khadilkar, the editor of a regional daily.

In her plea, Khadilkar had brought to the court’s notice that two contractors— RPS Infraproject and J Kumar Infraproject—had been blacklisted by the BMC commissioner on April 20 this year over substandard road repair works across the city and over fabricated documents. However, on May 4 this year, the standing committee of the corporation approved a decision to award work contracts worth Rs176 crore to the two firms.

First Published: May 28, 2016 11:29 IST