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Friday, July 23, 2021

Firms run by civic staffers’ wives get Covid-19 contracts: BMC orders inquiry

The Indian Express had on July 7 reported that two firms run by the wives of two civic staffers had bagged several contracts in D ward.. The probe was ordered following the report, the Deputy Municipal Commissioner said.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai |
Updated: July 9, 2021 8:17:43 am
According to the RTI documents, RR Enterprises is owned by Riya Ratnesh Bhosale, wife of Ratnesh Bhosale who is currently posted in H-east ward (Santacruz east) as peon. Shree Enterprises is run by Aparna A Narale, wife of Arjun Narale, who is a “labour” in D ward. (Representational Photo)

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has ordered an inquiry into the companies formed by the wives of two of its staffers after it was reported that they had received several Covid-19 contracts, besides that for other civic works, in the D ward that covers areas such as Grant Road, Girgaon and Malabar Hill Road. Officials said they are probing if this could be a case of “conflict of interest” and if the staffers concerned had directly or indirectly helped the firms bag the contracts from the BMC.

The Indian Express had on July 7 reported that two firms run by the wives of two civic staffers had bagged several contracts in D ward. The documents accessed under Right to Information (RTI) by activist Santosh Daundkar had shown that RR Enterprises and Shree Enterprises had got contracts worth Rs 65.36 lakh and Rs 1.11 crore respectively between 2019 and 2021. Daundkar had said that these companies were indirectly being run by the civic staffers.

Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Zone 1, Harshad Kale, said: “Following the report in Indian Express, I have directed the assistant municipal commissioner of D ward to submit a preliminary inquiry report in this matter. Based on the finding of the report, a detailed investigation will take place,” Kale said. The report is expected to be submitted before Kale by Monday.

Assistant Municipal Commissioner, D ward, Prashant Gaikwad said he was going through the documents of both the companies. Opposition leader Ravi Raja has demanded detailed investigation in the matter.

According to the RTI documents, RR Enterprises is owned by Riya Ratnesh Bhosale, wife of Ratnesh Bhosale who is currently posted in H-east ward (Santacruz east) as peon. Shree Enterprises is run by Aparna A Narale, wife of Arjun Narale, who is a “labour” in D ward.

Daundkar had alleged that both companies are indirectly run by civic staffers, adding that the firms managing to get several contracts in D ward was also a case of conflict of interest.

As per section 86 (1) of Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, any person (municipal officer and servant) who has, directly or indirectly, by himself or his partner any share or interest in any contract with, by or on behalf of the corporation shall be disqualified from being a municipal officer or servant.

Documents show that both companies got contracts like hiring of four wheelers for Covid-19 duty, supply of various materials to CCC1 and 2 (Covid Care Centre), supply of various materials for Covid-19, including pulse oximeters and Arsenic Album tablets, along with non-Covid works like supply of water purifiers, housekeeping of D ward, repairs of drains and supply of curtains.

“If you see the documents, you will find that in case of RR (Enterprises), the contact number and house address belongs to Ratnesh Bhosale. In case of Shree Enterprises, the office address is bogus. He (Narale) is posted in D ward and in the last one and a half year, most of the contracts (from here) was awarded to them (the company),” said Daunkar.
“A detailed investigation is required in these cases. It will definitely reveal the entire wrongdoing and nexus among officials that is behind the creation of such companies,” he added.

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