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Mumbai: Rs 5,887-crore international airport scam unearthed

The investigation has been launched by the Sahar police after a Gujarat-based social activist blew the whistle on an alleged scam during the construction of the Mumbai international airport

The Sahar police will now investigate a Rs 5,887-crore scam that allegedly took place during the construction of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, after a Gujarat-based social activist lodged a complaint implicating several prominent names, including bureaucrats and police officials.

Social activist Vishwas Bhamburkar alleged that MIAL and GVK received undue benefits to the tune of R5,887 crore through various irregularities while constructing the airport. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Social activist Vishwas Bhamburkar alleged that MIAL and GVK received undue benefits to the tune of R5,887 crore through various irregularities while constructing the airport. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

The police have registered an FIR against Alok Sinha, joint secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Dr GVK Reddy, chairman & managing director of GVK Power and Infrastructure Limited, GV Sanjay Reddy, managing director of Mumbai International Airport Private Limited (MIAL), Namdeo Chavan, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Madhukar Sankhe, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Airport Div), Rajendra Nagbhirey, senior police inspector and Vijay Sathe, police inspector, in a case pertaining to the inflation of cost of the new international airport.

The complaint was filed by the social activist, Vishwas Bhamburkar, who has accused MIAL and GVK of receiving undue benefits to the tune of R5,887 crore through various irregularities while constructing the airport.

The complaint was made on the basis of a CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) audit that accused the civil aviation ministry and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) of failing to monitor the construction effectively, resulting in undue benefit to the private concessionaire while the project kept getting delayed.

“The project was supposed to be completed in 2010, but it got delayed by over three years. Also the cost of project escalated from R5,826 crore to R11,647 crore. To recover the losses, MIAL was allowed to levy an additional usage fee from passengers,” the complaint read.

“I approached the police in December 2013, insisting on registering an FIR in the matter. After I was made to run from pillar to post, I knocked the doors of the court and filed a petition in April this year. After seven to eight hearings, the court finally asked the police station to register an FIR in the matter,” Bhamburkar said.

Cops implicated
“Cops have also been made a party in the case, since they were working hand-in-glove with the other accused from the beginning. Whatever RTI applications I had filed, requesting cops for information pertaining to the case, all questions were forwarded to GVK. Instead of the cops, GVK replied to those RTIs,” added Bhamburkar.

Following the petition, the court has now ordered the local police station to register an FIR in the matter. The FIR was registered on November 1 against all the accused, under sections 420, 120 (B) 467, 468 and 469 of the Indian Penal Code, along with several sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Meanwhile, Bhamburkar has filed a petition against irregularities in the construction of the Delhi airport as well. “The case is subjudice. I am expecting an FIR in that case also very soon,” he said.

ACP Madhukar Sankhe, who is named as one of the accused, said, “He (Bhamburkar) had made some complaints in the past. Based on it, we conducted investigations and replied to him saying no cognisable offence can be registered in the matter since the agreement is between the government and some agency. Even then he continued to approach the police to register a complaint.”

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