Rapping the BMC for awarding contracts to two of the tainted contractors it had named in an FIR, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday cancelled the four contracts given to two of them.
On May 27, a PIL was filed over malpractices adopted by BMC while giving contracts for building Hancock bridge and others. File pic
Justices Shantanu Kemkar and Makarand Karnik cancelled the contracts of J Kumar Infra Projects Limited and RPS Infra Projects. The HC said, “Though the works were of an emergency nature, BMC cannot be allowed to stand against the larger public interest and give contracts in an illegal and irrational manner. It seems that BMC officers delayed the suspension and cancellation of registration of the contractors, just to award them the contracts.”
On May 27, Jayshree Pandey, had filed a PIL regarding the malpractices adopted by BMC while giving contracts for building Hancock bridge, Byculla bridge, a bridge across Mithi River at Dharavi, Yari Road bridge and Lokhandwala back road and at Vikhroli station, roughly costing around Rs 110 crore.
She claimed that BMC had awarded them the contracts again on April 27 via the standing committee, despite starting a blacklisting process against the contractors and registering a FIR for cheating the civic body to the tune of R14 crore.
BMC’s counsel Anil Sakhare had argued that BMC was right in awarding the contracts as they were not suspended, nor blacklisted and had rights to participate in the tender processing. “Though an FIR was registered against them on April 25, they were handed work on April 27 and the show cause notice to blacklist them was issued only on May 16. The process had started then only,” Sakhare said.
Meanwhile, Mihir Desai, who was appointed as the amicus curiae in the case by High Court, had told the court that BMC’s decision to award the contracts was taken in haste. “BMC is working against public interest only to favour contractors. It could have been better if it could have not allotted contracts to them instead of hurriedly giving them contracts,” Desai had pointed out to the court.
The contractors, through senior counsel Aspi Chinoy, had also said, “They cannot be barred from taking part in the tender allotment process as they were not blacklisted during the time of allotting the contracts and they were all credible players in the field and the samples taken by BMC were all behind their back.”
The petitioner had claimed the show cause was purposely delayed by BMC just to make sure that contractors can take part in the tender processing. Meanwhile, BMC claimed that a show cause notice can be issued only after some thinking.