MONTHS AFTER it was revealed that engineers from the roads department had favoured contractors accused in the road scam by collecting penalty from them after the FIR, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to return the cheques.
In July, it was revealed that two contractors were granted pre-arrest bail on the grounds of having paid penalties for losses that the BMC incurred from the shoddy road repair. The matter came to light when the roads department scrutinised records, only after receiving a police letter seeking clarification on whether it was acceptable for the BMC to collect fines after the FIR.
“Since it is case of criminal conspiracy, it is wrong to accept fines from the road contractors. This is not a civil case to recover penalty. So, it has been decided to return the penalty cheques to the contractors,” said an official.
The official added that the departmental probe against all the six engineers is on and action will be taken against them after completion of the probe.
Earlier, the engineers had stated that they collected the fines under clauses 69 and 87 of the road tender condition. While clause 87 deals with over-payment, clause 69 is related to correction of defects in road works. Not satisfied with the engineers’ replies, the BMC suspended two executive engineers — V V Achrekar and K H Yerme — from the western suburbs and a departmental inquiry has been ordered against all six.
Officials said that collecting fines showed the connivance of the road engineers with the contractor, as the action helped them get pre-arrest bail.
Following an inquiry into 34 roads, the BMC had registered an FIR against six contractors and two third-party auditors. A Special Investigation Team was set up to probe the Rs 352-crore scam. So far, the police has arrested 26 people, including three senior officials and a contractor in connection with the scam.
The civic body had named six contractors and two third-party auditors in the FIR. The contractors are RPS Infraprojects, KR Construction, Jay Kumar, Relcon Infra-
projects, RK Madhani and Mahavir Infrastructure.