CBI to quiz F&CC members, officials, councilors behind gym installation in 36 community centreshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/cbi-to-quiz-fcc-members-officials-councilors-behind-gym-installation-in-36-community-centres-5957674/

CBI to quiz F&CC members, officials, councilors behind gym installation in 36 community centres

CBI officials say irregularities found in period from 2016 to 2018, will lodge FIR in the matter; officials of engineering wing already under scanner.

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Not just gym equipment in the community centres, the CBI is likely to probe the installation of open-air gyms in the green belts as well. (Source: IANS)

Members of the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC), officials and those councillors who had given recommendations for the installation of gyms in their community centres will be quizzed by the team of CBI in the matter pertaining to installation of gym equipment in the community centres of the city.

CBI officials investigating the matter said that irregularities have been found in the installation of gym equipment in 36 community centres pertaining to the period from 2016 to 2018 and they will first be lodging an FIR in the matter.

“We have carried out our preliminary inquiry and will be lodging an FIR in the matter. We will be questioning all those who recommended the installation of the gym equipment, those officials who were involved in the tender process and the committee members who passed the agenda item,” a CBI officer said requesting anonymity.

Most of the agenda items pertaining to gym equipment in the community centres were passed in the Finance and Contract Committee, which comprises both councillors and officers. The Finance and Contract Committee is constituted every year in January. Members of all the three Finance and Contract Committees will be quizzed in this connection.

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From 2016 to 2018, all the three mayors and majority of the Finance and Contract Committee members were from the BJP.

Officials of the engineering wing, including sub-divisional officers, are already under the scanner of the investigating agency.

Last Friday, the investigating agency had seized the official records of the installed gym equipment of Lifeline Fitness Company from the Municipal Corporation building in Sector 17.

The teams had also conducted a raid at three community centres: Dadumajra community centre, Sector 19 community centre and Sector 42-A community centre.

The Lifeline Fitness Company is owned by BJP leader Yashpal Mahajan. According to the information available with the CBI, MC allotted the tenders to seven-eight companies, including some of the construction companies, for purchasing the gym equipment of Lifeline Fitness brand for the community centres. The companies also purchased the equipment from Lifeline Fitness and sold these pieces of machinery to MC at a higher price of Rs 2.50 lakh.

Open-air gyms too under the scanner

Not just gym equipment in the community centres, the CBI is likely to probe the installation of open-air gyms in the green belts as well.

There had been a sudden increase in open-air gyms in the green belts and parks after 2016. A BJP councillor who joined the Congress this year, Satish Kainth, had given a written complaint to the then MC Commissioner in 2018 stating that not just substandard material in the equipment was being used but enhanced estimates were being prepared in the tenders to “favour specific firms”.

However, the complaint that mentioned that false estimates were being prepared was dumped.

The details specified in the complaint had revealed that the estimates which the Municipal Corporation officials had prepared as per specifications for 10 open-air gym equipment here were of Rs 10.23 lakh while it was allotted to the company for Rs 5.63 lakh, which was 45 per cent less than the estimates prepared. “Intentionally enhanced estimates are being prepared so that the firm which has its own price to offer, be favoured after showing that it has the least amount to offer,” the complaint had stated.

An open-air gym was first installed in Shanti Kunj. Later, the officials had stated that councillors may recommend the open-air gyms only in big green belts of their wards. However, post-2016, there had been a spurt in the installation of open-air gyms in the small green belts too.

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Open-air gyms have been installed in over 50 green belts now with 10 machines in each of them. There have been several complaints about poor quality of the material used. Residents had even found that the equipment broke within minutes of the inaugural ceremony.

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