EVEN as the Bombay High Court ordered the Economic Offences Wing of the Mumbai Police to file a chargesheet within four weeks against those involved in the road repairs scam, Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta Tuesday ordered a full-fledged departmental inquiry against the road department’s engineers alleged to be involved.
Following the second and final inquiry report in the scam, the departmental inquiry will now pave the way for action against those involved. Senior officials said Mehta had appointed Deputy Municipal Commissioner Ramesh Bamble as the inquiry officer to probe the role of engineers of the roads department. Bamble might submit his report by the end of July, said an official.
“The process of conducting a probe on the engineers’ role was initiated after the report on 34 roads was received. After the second and final report was submitted in March, a full-fledged departmental inquiry has been ordered,” said Mehta.
The first inquiry report on 34 roads in the road scam was submitted in 2016. Following the inquiry into 34 roads, the BMC had registered an FIR with the police and named six contractors and two third-party auditors as involved. Subsequently, the second and final inquiry for more than 200 roads was ordered and the report was submitted to Mehta in March. In the final inquiry report, the names of 10 more contractors were revealed, who were subsequently blacklisted by the civic body.
The inquiry was led by the then Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh along with Deputy Municipal Commissioner Vasant Prabhu and Chief Engineer (Bridges) S O Kori. Senior officials said the full-fledged departmental inquiry aimed to fix the responsibility of engineers involved in the scam. “The engineers such as junior engineer, assistant engineer, executive engineer and deputy chief engineers have different work responsibilities. So, their role related to the scam has to be fixed and action will be proposed based on it,” added the official.
The officials further said many engineers from the roads department were likely to be indicted in the departmental inquiry. “In the departmental inquiry, the names of the engineers in charge of the roads and their superiors will be checked. Also, the records involving the quality verification of the roads, clearance for payment will be checked. So, many engineers are likely to face action,” explained the official.
Ironically, Bamble said he did not know that he had been appointed as the inquiry officer to conduct the departmental probe. “I am not aware of it,” said Bamble, when contacted.