The reply to a Right to Information ( RTI) query has exposed a huge scam within the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation ( BMC). The reply shows that Inquiry Officers (IO) with the BMC violated several rules during investigations against 3,500 corrupt BMC employees.
For instance, the rules state that an inquiry against an officer or an employee should be completed within three months but in all the 3,500 cases the inquiry officers took three to five years to complete investigations, giving the accused a free run till then. Another rule says if an Inquiry Officer wants extension, he should obtain permission from the Municipal Commissioner giving valid reasons for the delay. But in most cases, no such permission was sought.
Vijay Manthena (43), an RTI activist, had demanded to know how many BMC employees/ officials attached in the 24 wards of BMC had faced an inquiry. After several reminders and appeals, last week the BMC replied, informing him that since 2000- 2001, more than 3,500 employees and officials have faced inquiry committees for corruption charges. Manthena had also demanded a copy of the Bombay Municipal Corporation ( service) regulations act. Manthena says he was shocked to discover that 3,500 inquiries took between three to five years to complete.
“It is shocking that not a single inquiry was completed within three months. Taking advantage of the delay the accused got minimum punishment,” he said.
Worse, in some instances, the BMC admitted it was clueless when the investigations were completed. For instance, on September 27, 1996 an inquiry was initiated against BR Karkhanis, BG Kulkarni, RP Parab, MR Kale, AS More, RR Tondulkar and SD Rajan but BMC officials admitted that no date is available as to when the inquiry was completed.
The other side
BMC Commissioner Sitaram Kunte said, “I have not seen the RTI report. Let me see the report and I will comment.”