Rapping the team probing the multi-crore road scam for its “slow” and “unsatisfactory” progress, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Ajoy Mehta Monday directed the deputy municipal commissioner (special engineering) and chief officer (inquiry) to speed up the investigation. He has also set a timeline for the probe.
In his note to the inquiry team, Mehta stated, “In spite of the lapse of a considerable time period (over one year), the inquiry against officers involved in road construction work has not been completed and the progress of the inquiry is very slow and unsatisfactory. It is important that in cases where large misappropriation of public money has taken place, immediate action in terms of fixing responsibility and awarding punishment is taken.”
There are two set of offenders — case A with 34 roads involving 100 officers and case B with 200 roads involving 170 officers. The chargesheet in case A has already been submitted, while in case B, it should be done before November 22, November 30 and December 9 as per the regions, according to the deadline set by Mehta. The final report has to be submitted to Mehta by December 26 in case A, and January 31, in case B.
“In July, we sent showcause notices to around 270 engineers/ officers found guilty in the first and second phases of the road scam inquiry. We are giving all the engineers/officers a chance to present their side with documentary evidence,” said a senior BMC officer.
After the road scam came to light last year, the BMC promptly took action against six contractors found guilty in the first phase of inquiry. By April 2016, all the six had been booked in an FIR. In April 2017, the civic body submitted its second inquiry report to Mehta, this time indicting 11 contractors. Mehta had immediately ordered that an FIR be registered. This time, BMC’s losses were found to be even greater — Rs 60 crore — as compared to Rs 11 crore ascertained in the first phase of inquiry. However, no case has been filed against the contractors named in the 2017 report.