Mumbai: PIL seeks transfer of probe in Road scam and Desilting scam

A PIL in the Bombay High Court has sought transfer of probe from city police to Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB) in the alleged road contract and desilting scams, saying it would expose the "unholy nexus" between contractors and civic staff. The PIL, filed by Vivekananda Gupta, is placed for hearing before a division bench of Justices V M Kanade and M S Sonak on July 12.

The petition said there was water logging in the city on July 19 and 20 last year due to heavy rains following which Municipal Commissioner (MC) had ordered an inquiry into the desilting contract work. The probe revealed "unholy nexus" of contractors and civic officials, the petition alleged. Subsequently, the Municipal Commissioner ordered
filing of FIR against contractors involved in the 'Desilting scam', also known as 'nalla safai scam'.

The chief engineer (Vigilance) and few officials of MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) were suspended. The 'nalla safai scam' exposed the fraud and nexus of contractors with MCGM officials, the PIL alleged. In another development in the 'road contract scam', a probe was ordered by Municipal Commissioner on a complaint
received from BJP MP and the Mayor.

The probe pertained to the construction of roads during 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16. The interim probe revealed serious irregularities in the road work. The municipal chief ordered registration of an FIR. The FIR named six accused including third party road auditors and chief engineer (Roads) was suspended immediately.

Both the FIRs were registered with Azad Maidan Police station, said the petition and demanded that the probe be transferred to ACB in view of alleged nexus of contractors with civic staff, the PIL demanded. Later, the FIR pertaining to the 'Desilting scam' was transferred from Azad Maidan Police Station to the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police. The EOW arrested five desilting contractors recently.

The FIR pertaining to road inquiry is with Azad Maidan police station. The Deputy Commissioner of Police concerned has formed a team to investigate the 'Road scam.' On June 16 last, police arrested ten employees of third party auditors, the petition said.

In both the alleged scams, public money is involved. The probe in both scams exposes an 'unholy nexus' of civic officials (from Chief Engineer to Sub-Engineer) with that of MCGM contractors and third party auditors. All of them have committed fraud and siphoned of public money for poor quality work and/or for which work was not executed, said the PIL.

The petition also demanded immediate suspension of Chief Engineer (Storm Water Drain) for his alleged role in the desilting scam. The PIL also demanded that the high court should monitor the probe in both the FIRs.

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