SIT struggles to get proof against big fish in Mumbai road scam

In April, the police lodged an FIR in the case following a complaint by the BMC.

Written by Mohamed Thaver | Mumbai | Published: June 22, 2016 12:40:39 am

THE special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Mumbai Police, which has been formed to probe the Rs 352-crore road repairs scam, has so far not found enough evidence to nab the ‘big players’ suspected to be involved in the scam.

In April, the police lodged an FIR in the case following a complaint by the BMC. The BMC, during inspection of 34 roads in the city, found massive irregularities in road repair and reconstruction work . While the police have arrested 22 persons so far, including three on Tuesday, most of them are sub-contractors.

An officer privy to the probe said the arrests that they made have been on the basis of the documents they have received from the civic body. The contractors, after signing a contract with the BMC, had delegated work at several road stretches to sub-contractors. All the bills that they have received for sub-standard work carried out on the roads have signatures of the sub-contractors. “The paperwork was carried out in such a way that junior officials have their signatures on all the bills relating to the roads where work was not carried out properly . None of the paperwork bears the signature of the senior officials. This could have been a deliberate ploy. Our probe is on,” said the officer.

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He added that apart from this, even the arrested accused have not named anyone. Hence so far, we do not know anything about the roles that the senior officials played, or if at all they were part of it.

The officer said that they are still going through the documents, including the contracts drawn up between the civic body and the six contractors, who have been named in the FIR. “If we get any evidence linking the senior officials to the scam, they too will be arrested,” the officer said.

Explaining the role of the arrested accused, the officer said that the 10 persons initially arrested were field officers with two third-party auditors appointed for quality check of the road work — SGS Consultancy and IRS (Indian Register of Shipping). “The 10 accused have told us they used to visit the site where road work was carried out with the sub contractors, following which they gave certificates that the work was of proper quality,” he added.

The BMC probe had revealed that the quality reports were misleading. Based on the interrogation of the these 10, the police arrested 12 sub-contractors. The three contractors arrested on Tuesday include Dattatraya Dhas, 26, of M/s Mahavir Roads and Infra, Ashish Jaiswal, 27, of M/s J Kumar – K.R. Construction and Rishikesh Shinde, 23, of J Kumar – K.R. constructions.

The FIR that had been registered by Azad Maidan police in April, had named six contractors – KR Construction, J Kumar, RPS Infraprojects, RK Madhani, Mahavir Infraprojects and Relcon Infraprojects — and two third-party auditors namely SGS Consultancy and IRS (Indian Register of Shipping).

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