Former businessmen formed cartel to grab toilet contract, says CBI chargesheet

Diwan did not present the facts before the F&CC, thus F&CC subsequently approved the maintenance charges of Rs 8,800 per month per toilet.

Written by Swati Mahajan | Chandigarh | Published:October 15, 2016 3:15 am
Toilet scam, Toilet scam CBI probe, business man cartel, toilet contract, Central Bureau of Investigation, selvel media, CBI, chandigarh news, Indian express news, India news The CBI had registered an FIR stating that the exchequer had incurred losses worth Rs 13.08 crore.

THE CHARGESHEET submitted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against former Superintending Engineer, Municipal Corporation, Public Health Ramesh Chander Diwan, Jimmy Subawalla, director of Selvel Media Services, Bishwadeep Dutta, general manager of Selvel Media Services, Mysa Ganesh, director, Outdoor Communication Private Ltd, states that the accused persons “formed a cartel to grab the contract in favour of Selvel Media Pvt Ltd without having a competitive bid”.

As per the chargesheet, the investigations revealed that Selvel Media Services Pvt Ltd and Outdoor Communications Pvt Ltd had business relationship which was within the knowledge of Bishwadeep Dutta, Jimmy Subawalla and Mysa Ganesh. It said, “In spite of this, they falsely tried to create an impression that both companies independently and separately participated in the tender. However, as per the investigations, both the companies through their officials Jimmy Subawalla, Bishwadeep Dutta and Mysa Ganesh entered into a conspiracy with RC Diwan, formed a cartel to grab the contract in favour of Selvel Media Pvt Ltd without having any competitive bidding.”

The investigation also revealed that there were “omissions and commissions” by R C Diwan, as a result of which Diwan not only violated the procedures pertaining to awarding contracts but also exceeded his authority in exempting Selvel to pay licence fees and advertisement fees.

The CBI had registered an FIR stating that the exchequer had incurred losses worth Rs 13.08 crore. However, the losses pertaining to exemption of advertising fees and licence fees (costing Rs 6,32,77,108) were not added in the chargesheet stating the matter was pending with the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The chargesheet stated that Diwan also exempted Selvel Company from the license fees and the advertisement fees by way of allotment of two letters for which there was no approval from the competent authority. Thus, Selvel failed to pay Rs 1,21,79842 towards advertisement fees of 15 connecting passages, Rs 2,80,50,344 as advertisement fees of 46 blocks, Rs 2,30,46,922 as advertisement fees of 40 toilet blocks. However, the demand notices of payment of this advertisement fees have been issued recently by the MCC for claim from Selvel Media Services Pvt Ltd. The company has contested the claim before the Punjab and Haryana High Court that advertisement tax is not applicable in Chandigarh and the matter is pending with the high court.

As per the chargesheet, Diwan did not present the facts before the F&CC, thus F&CC subsequently approved the maintenance charges of Rs 8,800 per month per toilet. In this way, the payment of Rs 3,82,55,570 and Rs 2,83,38032 was made by the MC towards maintenance charges of 46 toilet blocks and 40 toilet blocks to Selvel Company.

The chargesheet added that R C Diwan moved a note on August 9, 2007, to be put before the Finance and Contract Committee of the Municipal Corporation. The said note contained the comparison sheet of calculations of the rates maintained by the municipal corporation which was Rs 2,2591 per month while the maintenance charges of contractor was Rs 8,800 per month. “The matter was deliberated before the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) and it approved Rs 8,800 per toilet per month. However, the rate of Rs 8,800 per toilet per month
was obtained by R C Diwan fraudulently by suppressing facts of already processed tender and selection of Selvel
Media Services Pvt Ltd,” noted the chargesheet.

Among other officials who were booked, S R Aggarwal, the then superintending engineer MC Public Health, and S K Bansal, the then Chief Engineer MC, did not pay due diligence while discharging their official duties and committed lapses while recommending and approving these two tenders in 2007. They were found negligent of discharge of official duty and regular departmental action for major penalty has been recommended against them.

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