Cracking down on irregularities in the Public Works Department (PWD), Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has suspended 13 branch engineers who had kept their measurement books (MBs) in the department’s Bandra rest house in a suspicious manner.
MBs help in assessing the payment to be made to the respective contractors, based on actual work and its physical verification. Engineers are duty-bound to keep MBs in their possession. Based on measurements registered in MBs, the branch engineers make bills for seeking approval of their superior officers.
The MBs, 245 in all, were seized by the sleuths of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on February 7. The books, registered in the name of 37 branch engineers, had entries about the controversial new Maharashtra Sadan building in New Delhi, in which former PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal, his MLA son, and ex-MP nephew are accused of corruption.
The CM has granted the ACB permission to investigate against the three Bhujbals. The ACB will question the NCP leaders on Friday and Saturday. MBs related to Maharashtra Sadan are expected to give the anti-corruption unit vital clues against the accused politicians and staffers in the PWD. The Bhujbal family has dismissed the allegations.
Some of the seized MBs were also related to repairs carried out at ministers’ bungalows in the city an issue that is always under scrutiny because of the huge and unnecessary expenditure involved. Others pertained to works the department had undertaken in the general and assembly elections last year.
However, only 13 engineers, who had five and more MBs each kept in the rest house, were suspended on Wednesday. 24 others were spared following their satisfactory explanations. The suspended engineers are S W Chavan, V G Deshpande, D A Patil, G M Gaokar, V H Ahire, S B Sonasis, G P Dombale, R B Pardeshi, R H Jagdale, A E Panad, V P Patil, M B Gharat and A M Jadhav.
Suspended for using restricted premises
Four engineers from the PWD who were found to have organised a farewell party for retired superintending engineer P Y Deshmukh on the restricted premises of Nashik’s Ozar airport were suspended on Wednesday, following CM Devendra Fadnavis’ orders. D T Bhadane, M U More, Rahul Patil and Gadakh were found responsible for partying with office-bearers of a local builders’ association.