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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

ACB books Mumbai Monorail COO for ‘demanding bribe’

According to ACB officials, the complainant’s company provides housekeeping, maintenance and customer services and had obtained a contract from January 2019 to August 2020 for which Mumbai Monorail was charged Rs 2.5 crore.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: August 17, 2021 11:09:12 pm
"In order to release Rs 50 lakh, the COO, identified as Dr DLN Murthy, demanded Rs 20 lakh from the complainant,” read a statement issued by ACB | Reuters/file

The Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) registered a case against the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Mumbai Monorail for allegedly demanding Rs 20 lakh from the owner of a facility management company in order to sanction a bill for the services provided by the company.

According to ACB officials, the complainant’s company provides housekeeping, maintenance and customer services and had obtained a contract from January 2019 to August 2020 for which Mumbai Monorail was charged Rs 2.5 crore. An officer said the complainant had also paid Rs 32 lakh as bank guarantee to Mumbai Monorail. So, the total amount payable to the complainant was Rs 2.82 lakh.

“After constant follow-ups with officials from Mumbai Monorail, the complainant managed to get Rs 2.1 crore in January 2021 and subsequently Rs 22 lakh in June. And in order to release the remaining amount of Rs 50 lakh, the COO, identified as Dr DLN Murthy, demanded Rs 20 lakh from the complainant,” read a statement by ACB.

The complainant then approached the ACB headquarters in Worli on July 2. “We initiated an inquiry and tried to lay a trap, but as things did not work out, on the basis of the evidence furnished by the complainant, we registered a case of (bribe) demand,” said ACB.

Murthy has been booked under Section 7 of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988.

Murthy in a text message said, “That’s all false and baseless. The truth will come out soon. Request you to wait patiently till such time.”

Mumbai’s lone monorail line, which runs on a 19.54 km stretch from Chembur to Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk, has been facing operational and financial difficulties which has affected its normal operations.

MMRDA was hoping that 3.6 crore people would use the service every year. The actual number is a fraction of the estimate.

Murthy had been brough in to streamline the operations of the monorail service, which presently has only four operational coaches as against 15 coaches that were planned at the inception of the project.

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