'Civic chief shielding his tainted deputy'
Civic activists in the city have now trained their guns on Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak, accusing him of shielding tainted deputy commissioner Ramesh Shelar by conducting inquiry after inquiry and not taking any action. They also claimed that despite filing a query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the PMC committee was reluctant in sharing the inquiry report.
Pathak recently ordered
an additional departmental inquiry against Shelar after he failed to give a satisfactory explanation about his alleged involvement in purchase of several properties in his wife and relatives’ name. The action was initiated after a three-member committee submitted its report to Pathak, mentioning that explanation given by him was unclear and not up to the mark.
“The PMC officials are not ready to reveal the inquiry report, which is a public document. I had filed an RTI query about this report on June 12. I received a reply from the PMC July 15 saying that the report was yet to be prepared and would be submitted to the municipal commissioner after two days. It means they’re intentionally not revealing the report. Even after sending it to the civic chief, the officials are unwilling to disclose it,” RTI activist Vinayak Phadake said.
Two months ago Phadake had exposed that Shelar’s wife owned 13 flats in the Waraje area, which neither had completion certificates nor had the buyer paid the stamp duty. In addition, his RTI query also revealed that the PMC’s Tax Assessment and Collection Department had not assessed the dues on the 13 flats since 2003.
It was only after media published the reports about Shelar’s alleged involvement in the controversy, corporators demanded stringent action against him following which Shelar, who was then the additional deputy municipal commissioner, was suspended from the post of posts he held in the his anti-encroachment and sky sign department.
“If the inquiry committee has submitted its report, then why is Pathak delaying action against Shelar. This implies that they are unnecessarily wasting time by conducting inquiries,” Phadake said.
RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar said, “Even in the picnic scam, wherein officials of the education board were involved, no action was taken. Shelar still holds the post of security officer. Despite having enough proof, the civic chief is conducting only inquiries. This is a clear indicator that no action will be taken against him.” Despite repeated attempts, Pathak remained unavailable for comment.