Mithi rehabilitation files stolen from MMRDA
Sources allege incursion at authority's HQ in BKC was designed to destroy papers related to people eligible for resettlement; no formal complaint lodged yet
The officers in charge of the Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) department of the MMRDA are having sleepless nights for the last 20 days.
One of the stolen files was related to MMRDA's Mithi River development project, while the other was also related to Resettlement and Rehabilitation, sources say
Important papers from two confidential files went missing from the R&R office in the building that houses the authority's headquarters at Bandra-Kurla Complex on two different dates in December.
Remarkably, a formal complaint is still to be lodged with the police. Soon after the incident, R&R chief Vishram Patil brought the incident to the notice of senior officials who informed the BKC police.
Cops questioned over a dozen people including security guards who are supplied by a private firm, Bombay Intelligence Security (BIS). According to the cops, the files were ransacked from the locker.
Senior Inspector Vinayak Sawade of BKC police station said, "The MMRDA approached us for a case related to important files going missing from its office.
We have questioned MMRDA employees including the security personnel who are from a private agency. We are waiting for a formal complaint from the MMRDA to conduct a detailed probe."
Highly placed sources in MMRDA said, "Two important files containing information related to the R&R of project-affected people (PAP) were ransacked on December 14 and December 30 from the R&R office located on the third floor of the main MMRDA building.
And important papers related to the eligibility of the PAP were missing. One was related to MMRDA's Mithi River development project.
The other was also related to R&R. It was an attempt to destroy the names of the eligible PAP in the original list so fake or bogus names could be added to the new list for the allotment of houses in R&R colonies.
These things are happening with the help of agents who are mediating between bogus PAP and the officers in R&R department."
Security firm says
Director of BIS, Santosh Singh, said, "It is true that our security guards were called on by BKC police in connection with the ransacking of files but I would like to clear that our guards have nothing to do with this. They are posted at the gates of the building."
But officials from MMRDA alleged that the guards are hand-in-glove with the culprits. "I have noticed that though all the departments close by 6 pm, the R&R department operates till late in the night. At times, we have seen agents entering the office late in the evening," said a source.
Why is R&R crucial?
The R&R department is tasked with successfully rehabilitating the project-affected people who are displaced because of MMRDA projects like Mithi River development, Santacruz Chembur Link Road (SCLR), Jogeshwari Vikroli Link Road (JVLR), Sahar Elevated Road, Milan ROB and so on.
Important documents such as eligibility and identity proof of the PAP is housed in the R&R office for verification. It is on the basis of these documents that houses are allotted to PAP in the R&R colonies of MMRDA.
But sources told this newspaper that this is one of the most compromised departments of MMRDA where ineligible people routinely submit bogus documents through agents to appear to be eligible.
A top MMRDA official said, "Files in the R&R department have been ransacked twice. Soon after the incident I instructed the heads of departments to see to it that no outsiders visit the office after office hours that is 6 pm. We also instructed the security in-charge to keep a strict vigil on visitors to the headquarters."
BJP Corporator and MMRDA Board Member Advocate Ashish Shelar said, "MMRDA should immediately hand over the CCTV footage of the building entrance to the police so that action can be taken against those responsible. As this is a very serious issue, I will raise it in the next authority meeting."
Satyanarayan Chaudhary DCP (Zone VIII) said, "We were informed about the matter by MMRDA but have not received any formal complaint to carry out a detailed investigation."
Did you know?
Till date, the MMRDA has successfully rehabilitated and resettled over 37,000 families
Send us feedback via Twitter@mid_day