Mumbai: Malad corporator threatens dharna against ward officer's irregularities

Cyril D’souza, corporator from P/North ward has alleged that Assistant Municipal Commissioner Devendra Kumar Jain has illegally demolished structurally fit buildings and given his ward premises on rent for a film shoot

A Corporator from Malad has levelled allegations of irregularities and flouting norms against the ward officer and has threatened to stage a dharna if the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) doesn’t take action against the said official.

Corporator Cyril D’souza, showing cracks inside a building, has alleged that Devendra Kumar Jain, assistant municipal commissioner of P/North ward, colluded with builders to demolish even structurally fit buildings last year
Corporator Cyril D’souza, showing cracks inside a building, has alleged that Devendra Kumar Jain, assistant municipal commissioner of P/North ward, colluded with builders to demolish even structurally fit buildings last year

Cyril D’souza, corporator from the P/North ward and the ward committee chairman, wrote a letter on September 12 to the civic chief and the mayor, alleging that Devendra Kumar Jain, assistant municipal commissioner of the ward, has broken several rules and acted according to his own whims and fancies.

In the letter, D’souza alleges that last year, Jain has demolished several buildings in his locality in spite of them being structurally fit. This, D’souza says, is in connivance with builders.

The committee chairman further continued that Jain had rented out the ward office for a TV serial shoot involving Amitabh Bachchan for a sum of R48,000 in April, a decision that goes against the grain of the code of conduct of the BMC which forbids official premises from being used for private purposes.

D’souza further pointed out the dilapidated condition of the ward office itself and said that despite it being in such a condition, Jain went ahead and renovated only his office with funds sanctioned by another corporator, in the month of June. D’souza questioned why Jain had only used the funds for his own office and not refurbishing the building, on which cracks have developed on the beams and columns.

Tendering scam
Jain’s name is the only ward officer’s to have cropped up in inquiry into the recent Rs 100-crore e-tendering scam exposed by this newspaper. A total of 21 engineers from nine wards are under the scanner for allegedly opening up the electronic bidding system late at night to aid their favoured contractors.

As soon as the colluding parties had placed the bids, engineers made sure the system didn’t work for other bidders, who were unaware of the unfair advantage their competitors had been granted. This resulted in the BMC paying more for works, and losses to the tune of Rs 100 crore. Ironically, the e-tendering system had been introduced to bring in more transparency in the bidding system.

Civic chief Sitaram Kunte had ordered an inquiry into the scam. It is also being investigated whether the software engineers are also part of the scam. The lapses had been found by the BMC’s Test Audit and Vigilance Officer department.

D’souza told mid-day, “He has taken decisions without any regard for rules and acts of the BMC. Yet, there is no action taken against him. I have sent the letter and have also attached documents showing how a corporator assisted him in renovation and how he gave permissions for a shoot in the ward office.

I hope that after his name has come up in the inquiry of the Rs 100-crore e-tendering scam, he is not spared and the harshest action is taken against him. If nothing comes of all this, I will sit on a dharna outside the municipal commissioner’s office.”

The other side
When contacted, Jain coolly said, “These are all false allegations. He (D’souza) has been a professional complainant all his life and, hence, he is coming up with all these accusations. I have nothing to do with the e-tendering scam as well.”

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