ROAD SCAM: ME­HTA DRAWS LINE IN SAND

» Hours af­ter mid-day high­lighted how no FIR has been filed in multi-crore road scam, BMC Com­mis­sioner sets Jan 31 dead­line for probe panel

Mid Day - - FRONT PAGE - LAX­MAN SINGH lax­man.s@mid-day.com

HOURS af­ter mid-day’s re­port on the BMC drag­ging its feet on the road scam in­quest, Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mis­sioner Ajoy Me­hta re­acted by set­ting a dead­line for both the first and sec­ond phases of the in­quiry against the crooked con­trac­tors re­spon­si­ble for our shoddy roads. Me­hta or­dered that the fi­nal re­ports be sub­mit­ted to him by De­cem­ber 26 and Jan­uary 31, re­spec­tively.

ON Fri­day, this pa­per had re­ported that as far back as April, BMC chief Ajoy Me­hta had given or­ders to reg­is­ter an FIR against the 11 road con­trac­tors in­dicted in the sec­ond phase of the road scam in­ves­ti­ga­tion. These 11 com­pa­nies were found guilty of shoddy work, caus­ing losses to the tune of R60 crore to the civic body.

Sources said that the same day, the BMC boss came down heav­ily on the of­fi­cials who were given the task of over­see­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion — Deputy Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mis­sioner (Spe­cial En­gi­neer­ing) Ramesh Bam­ble and Chief En­gi­neer (In­quiry) Ra­jen­dra Relekar.

A se­nior civic of­fi­cial said, “On Fri­day, mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner Ajoy Me­hta met the of­fi­cials who were given charge of con­duct­ing the probe. Me­hta told them to fin­ish the first phase of the road in­quiry by De­cem­ber, and the sec­ond phase by Jan­uary 2018.”

Civic chief says

Speak­ing to mid-day, Me­hta said, “I have told the of­fi­cials to speed up the in­quiry and bring it to con­clu­sion as soon xas pos­si­ble. If they fail to sub­mit the in­quiry re­port, ac­tion will be ini­ti­ated against them.”

Asked for an update on whether an FIR had been filed in the sec­ond phase of the in­quiry, Me­hta said he would have to check with the con­cerned de­part­ment.

Af­ter the meet­ing, Me­hta also sent has the of­fi­cials a note, mak­ing it clear that if the in­quiry is not con­cluded by the dead­line, ac­tion will be taken against them.

Strongly worded memo

Me­hta’s memo states: “It is ob­served that in spite of con­sid­er­able time pe­riod — over one year — the in­quiry is not yet com­plete… The progress of in­quiry is very slow and un­sat­is­fac­tory. In cases where large misappropriation of pub­lic money has taken place, there has to be im­me­di­ate ac­tion, in terms of fix­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity and award­ing pun­ish­ments.”

The note fur­ther reads, “DMC (SE) and Chief En­gi­neer (In­quiry) to please note that if time­line is not fol­lowed strictly, it will be pre­sumed that you are not work­ing in the in­ter­est of MCGM, and are sup­port­ing the delin­quents by de­lay­ing the in­quiry. Ac­tion deemed fit will be ini­ti­ated against you.”

‘I have told them to speed up the in­quiry. If they fail, ac­tion will be ini­ti­ated against them’ BMC chief, Ajoy Me­hta

The BMC chief had or­dered an FIR to be filed against 11 road con­trac­tors in April, but no case was filed; (inset) mid-day’s Nov 10 re­port on the de­lay in ac­tion

The BMC had in­dicted 11 con­trac­tors for shoddy road work in April, but no fur­ther ac­tion was taken

mid-day’s Novem­ber 10 re­port on the de­lay in ac­tion

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