After a month of thorough investigation in the BMC sweeper scam, which mid-day busted in its report dated November 7, and has been following since, a police enquiry has been ordered across all BMC wards.
Ever since the death of her husband, a sweeper in D-ward, Sharda has had to face harassment in her quest for the job. Pic/Onkar Devlekar
After the five arrested accused, including agents and BMC officers, revealed that the scam had roots across the city, Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) Atulchandra Kulkarni has ordered a high-level probe.
The crime branch chief has directed the Crime Branch Unit to conduct a detailed enquiry across the 24 BMC wards that fall under their jurisdiction. mid-day had shed light on the scam, in which existing civic employees had landed jobs by impersonating as kin of dead or retired staffers in lieu of bribes of up to Rs 9 lakh, cheating scores of legitimate kin of the chance to earn their livelihood.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Dhananjay Kulkarni said, “The order was issued late on Friday, and the Joint CP has ordered a high level enquiry since it has come to the fore that poor people are getting victimised.”
The police are keen to find out how many employees had been hired in the BMC sweeper department in lieu of bribes, following which another round of arrests are likely. An officer from Crime Branch Unit 3 said, “In the course of our investigations, we have learnt that 10 people have opted for the job through this scam. We believe that more then 30 people are involved in D ward alone. The number may run into hundreds.”
Big fish on the radar
After the arrest of agents Kunal Jogadia (32) and Vinod Vinjuda (31), and BMC clerk Dilip Chaukekar (42), peon Anil Kanji Baliya (27) and Assistant Chief supervisor Devji Premji Rathod (52), investigators said that head supervisor Vijaykumar Kaskar is also on the police radar.
An investigator revealed, “The arrested accused claim that even Kaskar was aware of the scam. We are looking into his involvement.” When this paper contacted him, Kaskar, pleading innocence, said, “I am not involved. Only after the chief engineer hires the sweepers do I get their appointment letters, and subsequently assign them duties.”
The BMC has initiated its own internal investigation. BMC spokesperson Vijay Khabale said, "We have started an inquiry in all 24 wards.”