Mumbai: BMC chief Ajoy Mehta rejects Rs 352-crore road scam probe

Says report skimpy on details and reads like an essay; demands detailed tabulated report of rogue contractors, specific irregularities and loss to the exchequer

The BMC has rejected the inquiry report of 200 roads submitted to it on the ground that the way the findings have been presented is more like an “essay” and that the report needs to follow the format of the one that was submitted last year after a probe into 34 city roads. A senior civic official from the roads department said BMC chief Ajoy Mehta has asked the inquiry committee, including chief engineer (roads), to rework the report.

So far, 25 engineers have been arrested in connection with the road scam. Representation pic
So far, 25 engineers have been arrested in connection with the road scam. Representation pic

The second report was submitted to the BMC in September. “But Mehta sent it back and asked the department to compile the report with the same format followed during the inquiry into 34 roads done earlier,” a senior civic engineer told mid-day.

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Asked what the format was, the engineer said size of the road, nature of work, loss to the civic body and irregularities found during the investigation were the key points presented in a tabular form in the previous road scam inquiry report.

Investigation status
Following complaints of poor and substandard quality of road repair and construction, especially after Mumbai Mayor Snehal Ambekar’s letter to Mehta highlighting illegalities, the BMC had ordered a probe last year into the road work done. The total work under scanner is pegged around Rs 2,500 crore.

In the first phase of inquiry, the corporation had selected 34 roads as case studies; the remaining 200 were kept for the second phase. “The format of the first and second reports is different. To ensure that the procedure followed during investigations is maintained, I have asked them to make the necessary changes in the latest report,” Mehta said.

When asked how long it will take (for the reworked report to be submitted), the commissioner replied that no deadline has been set for it. “But I can assure you that it will be completed as early as possible.”

In the dock
Additional municipal commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh, who monitored the probe into checking for irregularities in road work, during the first inquiry observed that quality of roads was well below the standards with the damage ranging between 20 and 80 per cent. The BMC then filed an FIR in Azad Maidan police station.

Read Story: Mumbai: Baffled cops rope in IIT-B for pothole scam probe

In its complaint, the corporation named six contractors — RPS Infra, KR Construction, J Kumar, Relcon Infraprojects, RK Madhani and Mahavir Infrastructure — and two third-party auditors, SGC Consultants and IRS. So far, 25 engineers (three from BMC and 22 attached to the contractors or auditors) have been arrested in connection with the scam.

The police have formed a special investigating team to probe the case and DCP (zone I) Manoj Sharma is monitoring the probe.

In a nutshell
Last September, BMC chief Ajoy Mehta ordered a probe into the shoddy road work done.

On April 27, an offence was registered with the Azad Maidan police after civic body’s inquiry into the condition of 34 roads revealed several irregularities in the work.

A case under sections 420 , 120B and 197 of the IPC was filed. Two BMC chief engineers — Ashok Pawar (roads department) and Uday Murudkar (vigilance) — were arrested for their failure to properly supervise the work. In July, another executive engineer, Kishore Yerme, was arrested.

Except for the BMC engineers, all others arrested are out on bail.

Rs 352 cr
Total worth of the 34 roads surveyed

Rs 14 cr
Loss incurred as per BMC’s inquiry report, shown as Rs 10.5 crore in the FIR

Rs 2k cr
BMC’s annual expenditure on roads

Number of roads BMC is going to repair this year at Rs 1,000 crore

Rs 2,500 cr
Total road work under scanner

Total number of roads surveyed

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