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Firms bag several contracts: Civic corporation orders departmental inquiry against two staffers; five officers also to face probe

Civic officials said prima facie it has been found that there was a conflict of interest between these companies and civic staff and the departmental inquiry has been initiated under the Chief Officer of Inquiry Department into the matter.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai |
July 18, 2021 12:17:51 am
According to BMC, the two accused staffers -- Ratnesh Bhosale and Arjun Narale – may not have managed to circumvent the roles on their own.

THE BRIHANMUMBAI Municipal Corporation (BMC) has ordered a departmental inquiry against two civic staffers after the companies set up by their wives’ bagged contracts of several Covid-related and other works. Extending its probe, the corporation has also decided to investigate the role of the five officers from the D-ward, who were allegedly involved in the procurement process.

Civic officials said prima facie it has been found that there was a conflict of interest between these companies and civic staff and the departmental inquiry has been initiated under the Chief Officer of Inquiry Department into the matter.

Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Zone-1) Harshad Kale said he has also sought the inquiry department’s advice on the suspension of these employees. “The issue is related to procurement, the principle of service rules and, hence, the inquiry department has been tasked to conduct the investigation. They (the department) have started their investigation and based on their report further action will be taken,” Kale told The Indian Express.

According to BMC, the two accused staffers — Ratnesh Bhosale and Arjun Narale – may not have managed to circumvent the roles on their own. Roles of five officers, posted in the Maintenance, SWM and Electrical departments of the D-ward from where the companies owned by the spouses of the two staffers were awarded several contracts, are therefore under the scanner.

Documents accessed under Right to Information (RTI) by activist Santosh Daundkar showed that R R Enterprises, which has bagged contracts worth Rs 65.36 lakh from the BMC, is owned by Riya Ratnesh Bhosale, who is the wife of Ratnesh Bhosale, currently posted in the H-east ward (Santacruz east). Shree Enterprises, which has bagged contracts worth Rs 1.11 crore is run by Aparna A Narale, wife of Arjun Narale, an attender in the Solid Waste Management (SWM) department at D-ward (Malabar Hill, Grant Road).

“These companies have been active in the D-ward since the last six to seven years. They have bagged several other contracts before Covid-19 as well,” said a senior officer from the BMC. As per the 86 (1) of Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, any civic staff directly or indirectly involved in any contract on behalf of a corporation shall be disqualified for being a municipal officer or servant.

Daundkar has alleged that these companies are indirectly run by Bhosale and Narale and they used the names of their spouse as a shield. The two staffers had denied any links to the company but in a recent document, it was found that official contact numbers of the companies belonged to them respectively.

Earlier, corporators had demanded a probe under IAS officers and reforms in the service rules of BMC.

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