Mumbai road scam: BMC chief orders to stop payment to tainted contractors

Mumbai road scam: BMC chief orders to stop payment to tainted contractorsRepresentational picture

Road contractors, smug in the knowledge that work goes on despite the long list of cases against them, are in for a shock with the civic chief deciding to stop payment to them for both ongoing and completed work. Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta has instructed civic authorities to stop the release of funds, that run into crores, till the inquiry into the road scam is concluded.

In a confidential communication between his office and the chief engineer (roads) and chief accountant (finance), Mehta instructed that the balance payment is to be withheld for both ongoing road work and for work completed, said a senior official attached to the finance department.

Mehta neither confirmed nor denied the information. "We will do whatever is best in the interest of the BMC and taxpaying citizens," the commissioner said.

Mumbai road scam: BMC chief orders to stop payment to tainted contractorsmid-day's July 13 report that put faces to the names of the six errant contractors

mid-day was the first to put faces to the names of all six contractors accused in the road scam. Following complaints about shoddy work in road repairs and construction, especially after Mumbai Mayor Snehal Ambekar's letter to Mehta highlighting the irregularities, the BMC commissioner had, last year, ordered a probe into all road work in the city.

In the first phase, 34 roads were taken up for sample tests and 200 in the second phase. The total work under the scanner is pegged at around Rs 2,500 crore.

During the first phase of the probe, BMC observed that the quality of roads was sub-standard and irregularities ranged between 20 and 80 per cent. The probe was monitored by additional municipal commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh.

Accordingly, an FIR was registered at Azad Maidan police station. The BMC 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 contractors/auditors) have been arrested. While BMC engineers are still behind bars, those attached to private firms are out on bail.

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