They had cleared all work estimation documents and the roads constructed
The special investigation team (SIT) formed to probe the Rs 350-crore road scam caught two big fish yesterday: BMC’s chief engineer (roads) Ashok Padamsingh Pawar and chief engineer (vigilance) Uday Namdeo Murudkar. Theirs were the first big arrests from the BMC in the case.
Pawar and Murudkar had signed on all documents, helping junior-level officers and employees of the six errant contractors — Jeetendra Kikavat of Mahavir Infrastructure, Nitin Shah of RPS Infra Projects, Nalin Gupta of J Kumar, Tejas Shah from Relcon Infraprojects, Narendra Madhani of RK Madhani and Konark Shah of KR Constructions — send estimations on road repair works. They were hand in glove with the accused and played an important role in the scam, said a police officer. Both engineers also allegedly approved the roads built by the six contractors.
Till June 21, 22 persons — 10 third party auditors and 12 private site engineers — had been arrested.
No contractor arrested
But none of the tainted road contractors has been arrested yet. Police said they are building a watertight case against them before going in for arrests. “We don’t want to commit any mistake in a hurry to arrest the contractors. When sufficient and strong evidence is collected against anyone, that person will be brought to book. After all, the court is directly monitoring the scam,” said a senior police officer.
The SIT, which comprises officials from the Azad Maidan police and the city police’s economic offences wing, is investigating a fraud of nearly Rs 11 crore. Overvalued and non-existent road repairs over the last three years cost the BMC Rs 350 crore.
The 12 site engineers arrested had been tasked with checking if the works were being carried out properly. But they failed to do so. The site engineers were representatives of the contractors’ firms and were the final authorities in signing the official documents, the police said. The auditors presented bogus road inspection bills to the BMC, costing the exchequer a loss of around R10.56 crore.
Police have booked all accused under sections 120 (A) (criminal conspiracy), 197 (producing false documents) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC.