AFTER THE auditors, the Mumbai Police have now set their eyes on the six contractors in the Rs 350-crore Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) road repairs scam. According to sources, the arrests of the contractors are now imminent in the case.
According to sources, the site engineers and other junior rung engineers who were arrested in the case have indicted their contractors claiming that they certified the contracts on the ‘orders’ given by the contractors.
“These junior officials during interrogation have told us that the decision to use inferior quality material was taken by the contractors and the same was communicated to them during various meetings held between them during the course of the project. While they have accepted that the signatures on the documents pertaining to the projects are theirs, they claimed that they were merely following the orders given by their respective contractors and have no say in the decisions-making process,” the senior official privy to the probe details told The Indian Express. “Their statements are strong evidence against the contractors and our second leg of investigation is concentrating on their roles. The arrests of these contractors are now imminent and just a matter of time,” the official added.
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The six contractors are Relcon-R K Madhani (JV), R K Madhani, Relcon Infra Projects Ltd, Mahavir Road Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, J Kumar K R Construction and RPS K R Construction. The police have registered a case under sections 420 (cheating) 197 (issuing or signing false certificate) and 120(b) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against them.
On Tuesday, a Mumbai court rejected the anticipatory bail application filed by Jitendra Tikavat, managing director of Mahavir Infrastructure. Tikavat, named as one of the accused in a case registered by the BMC with the Azad Maidan police station, has filed an anticipatory bail before the sessions court.
Explaining why the police did not go behind the contractors immediately after registering the case, sources claimed that in order to build a watertight case against the contractors, they decided first to arrest the site engineers and auditors as the paperwork related to the projects was carried out by them.
“In the Rs 150-crore desilting scam probed by the EOW, the agency arrested the five contractors as the BMC registered an FIR against them. In our case, the initial complaint was not against the contractor, so we decided to go bottom up. This will only help to build a strong case against them,” said the source.
Sources added that the next level of investigation will also focus on the role of the BMC officials. “So far we haven’t received any report from the BMC chief indicting any senior official in the case. If we receive the report , it will be acted upon. Alternatively, the interrogation of the contractors will reveal if any BMC official was involved in the case. This will be the next phase of the investigation where the role of both BMC official and people — who helped the contractors bagging the contractors — will be probed,” the official further added.
So far, the Mumbai Police have arrested 22 junior-rung officials of six contractors and named two-third party auditors’ firms in the FIR. A case had been lodged with Azad Maidan police station on April 27, after the BMC’s internal probe revealed that more than two dozen roads in the city were of poor quality.
A special investigating team was formed under the leadership of Assistant Commissioner of Police (Colaba Division) Rajendra Chavan to probe into the case. According to the police, the recently arrested 10 accused were employees of two private engineering audit firms, who were appointed by the BMC to inspect the road works by the contractors.