Ex-MCA man under scanner says he followed all rules

Ravi Sawant, the former president of the Mumbai Cricket Association and erstwhile treasurer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has defended himself from any wrongdoing, in misleading and forging tender documents for the Kalina Central Library construction case.

Ravi Sawant said he only had to certify the eligible companies
Ravi Sawant said he only had to certify the eligible companies

It has been reported that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), in its chargesheet against former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal in the Kalina Central Library construction case, mentions Sawant as co-accused - he was one of the chartered accountants on the panel appointed by the Public Works Department (PWD) - for misinforming the government on the tender process.

“First of all, my role was only up to the financial bid of the tender process. I had no role to play in the technical part of the bid. The financial criteria were set by PWD. I just had to follow the prescribed guidelines and inform which company is eligible and which is not. We received four bids out of which two were eligible. I had no power to award any contract to eligible companies. I only certified who is eligible,” Sawant said. He clarified that the PWD appointed him and not Bhujbal. “The ACB called me to record my statement. They asked me about the procedure of eligibility and I said we followed the guidelines prescribed by the PWD. I was later told that I have been given a clean chit. I was shocked to see my name appear in the press,” Sawant said. However, ACB sources say Sawant was allegedly involved in manipulating eligibility of bidders in order to meet a pre-decided result.

The ACB chargesheet reportedly said Sawant’s accounting firm showed Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd eligible for the bidding process despite not meeting the minimum technical criteria of Rs 14 crore turnover for each of the past three financial years.

“In the financial criteria guidelines, there was no mention of turnover at all. It is part of the technical criteria where I had no role to play,” said Sawant in his defence. “It is all nonsense that I forged documents and misled the government. I went by what was prescribed,” he said.

— Inputs by Vijay Kumar Yadav

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