Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis' 'blue-eyed boy' accused of corruption by Sanjay Nirupam

Updated: Nov 18, 2017, 09:51 IST | A Correspondent

City Congress president Sanjay Nirupam alleges CM's secretary has been helping a particular Nagpur company to get lucrative contracts; Pravin Darade, CMO refute allegations

Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam wants a senior bureaucrat probed for his alleged role in favouring a company in awarding work contracts - IAS officer Pravin Darade, who is secretary to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as well as additional metropolitan commissioner.

Pravin Darade (left) and Sanjay Nirupam
Pravin Darade (left) and Sanjay Nirupam

Nirupam alleged that Darade had ensured that a Nagpur-based company - Vidarbha Infotech Pvt Ltd (VIPL) - got lucrative contracts in departments he worked in in official capacity, or influenced other departments to give preference to VIPL.

'Coincidence or nepotism?'
"Mumbai traffic police's vehicle towing job too went to VIPL because Darade pulled strings from CMO. VIPL got work in Nagpur Improvement Trust where Darade was the chairman. The company got work in municipal bodies in Thane, Mumbai, Nagpur and MMRDA, where Darade is an influential bureaucrat. It was also awarded a contract in the FDA, which is headed by Darade's wife," alleged Nirupam.

He added that 9 lakh four-wheeler drivers and 17 lakh bikers in Mumbai were being harassed by the traffic police and made to pay higher towing fines, with a major bulk of that money going to Vidarbha Infotech.

The leader said Darade was Fadnavis's blue-eyed boy and got away with everything. "Tender conditions for Mumbai traffic job were tweaked to benefit VIPL, which is now making a lot of money and putting 430 per cent extra financial burden on motorists in penalty and towing charges. We want the agreement abolished and a probe in the contracts presided over by Darade," said the Congressman.

Nirupam clarified that he wasn't saying Darade or his kin had stakes in VIPL but, he said, wanted to know why this particular company had got lucrative contracts especially after Fadnavis assumed the CM's Office and Darade took over as secretary in CMO.

"Is it coincidence or nepotism? Darade is so powerful, and a favourite of the CM, that he has been allotted a BMC-owned bungalow till his retirement, despite him not working for the civic body," Nirupam said, adding that there was some relationship and transaction between Darade and VIPL.

Allegations baseless: CMO
Talking to mid-day, Darade refuted the allegations. "I and Hon CM are not involved in this. The allegations are baseless," he said. The CMO too clarified in a statement. It said neither Fadnavis nor Darade was responsible for anything that Nirupam had alleged.

It said the high court had raised certain points against the earlier towing system and asked for adopting modern methods. "Maharashtra Towing Association and others have petitioned the high court against the award to VIPL. The government has received a report from the police commissioner for his. The state will represent its side in court," said the CMO.

The statement said VIPL was given work contracts during the previous governments as well. When Congressman Vikas Thakre was Nagpur mayor, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation had awarded VIPL work for computerising octroi collection. It was contracted by Nagpur APMC in 2002, and in 2010-11, it won a contract for octroi collection work of Thane and Mumbai municipal corporations.

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