As many as 89 engineers found guilty in the second phase of the road repair scam are among the 96 who have already been handed out punishments for their involvement in the irregularities in construction of 34 roads, probed in the first phase of the multi-crore scam. The punishment given to the 89 engineers in the first phase would multiply based on the quantum of irregularities, complexity and their role in the second phase of the probe, senior officials told The Indian Express Sunday.
After concluding the first phase of the investigation by awarding punishment to 96 engineers, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will now take action on 189 of its engineers involved in the road scam.
In its report, the probe committee headed by Ramesh Bambale, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, had pinned the responsibility on 100 engineers, detailing their roles. On January 6, as many as 96 were handed out punishments, while four were let off. While 189 others face punishment in the second phase, the report detailing their roles will be released on January 30.
Following two rounds of inquiries into the scam — one pertaining to 34 roads and the second to 200 roads — unearthed in September 2015, the BMC had pegged the misappropriated amount at Rs 959 crore. The total value of the work was estimated to be at least Rs 1,700 crore. As per the civic administration’s calculations, the shoddy work amounts to more than half the cost.
Punishments to the engineers were handed out based on their level of involvement in the scam or their role, said Commissioner Ajoy Mehta. Elaborating on the investigation and the process of awarding punishments, Mehta said deeper rot in the system came to light during the investigation of the scam involving 34 roads and irregularities in the construction/repairs of 200 more roads were unearthed.
According to a timeline set by Mehta, there are two sets of offenders — phase one with 34 roads involving 100 engineers and phase two of 200 roads involving 189 engineers. The chargesheet in phase one had been submitted between August and September 2016, while phase two of the probe was carried out on November 22, 30 and December 9 as per regions. While the final report in phase one was submitted to Mehta by December 26, 2017, the report on phase two will be submitted by January 30, 2018.
Mehta said: “The first thing we did was to put them in a matrix and calculations were done based on duration they had spent on the project, irregularities taken place during that time, their role etc. Having done that, we followed the bell curve method. We placed those involved in more number of irregularities on the top, and those with lesser involvement at the bottom. The remaining were placed in the middle. Those on top were awarded severe punishment, those on bottom were given reprieve. Those in the middle were punished equally based on their involvements.”
According to Mehta, 89, among the 189 whose role are being investigated in the second phase, have already been punished in the first phase.
“In July, we had sent show-cause notices to around 290 engineers/ officers found guilty in the first and second phases of the road scam inquiry. We had given all these engineers/officers a chance to present their side with documentary evidence,” said a senior BMC officer.