The state government has blacklisted 19 contractors and suspended 22 officials, including four executive engineers, for fraudulent practices in 29 civil projects undertaken by the public works department (PWD) in Mumbai. Forged documents were reported to have been submitted for the projects.
PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil has ordered a criminal offence to be lodged against the officials and the contractors.
The report submitted to the PWD states that contractors, in connivance with the officials and engineers of the department, provided fake documents to certify that the material used for construction met the prescribed standards.
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Patil said, “What has come to light is the tip of the iceberg. We have taken note of only works undertaken between 2011 and 2015 where fake certificates were attached along with the bills for taking full payment.”
He said, “The contractors, in connivance with executive engineers, superintendent and project managers would produce a certificate without approval from the government lab on material used for the civil work.”
The exact revenue loss is still being worked out but Patil believes the corrupt practice must have gone undetected for years.
Audit reports from Nagpur and Mumbai on certain civil works, where fake certificates have come to light, had blown the lid off the scam. The PWD minister ordered a probe to find out when the practice started and who all benefited.
The report submitted to the government spells out how the contractors and officials of the department would forge certificates, complete with logo, to certify that the test was conducted in the government laboratory.
Additional Chief Secretary Anand Kulkarni said, “The material used in any PWD sanctioned works has to be audited and certified by the government laboratory. It is to ascertain the quantity and standard of material used for civil work in various projects.”
But 22 contractors in 29 projects submitted certificates for material not tested in the government laboratory along with bills, and the auditor suspected something amiss. After ascertaining a few projects, it came to light that the contractors, along with PWD officials, had indulged in fraudulent practices.
The auditors, on verifying with government labs, learnt that they had not issued the certificates to the contractors. Officials at the government laboratory expressed shock when it was revealed that the logo was used on the certificates along with signatures.
K P Patil (executive engineer), C B Patil (executive engineer), T G Band (deputy executive engineer), A H Pol (deputy executive engineer), H P Pawar (project superintendent), A N Jadhav, H H Shette, P G More, V P Joshi, R P Melekar, A H Boras (executive engineer), T G Band (executive engineer), D M Kureshi, H K Patil, S D Kedar, N B Bhagwat, H V Thorat, S S Jadhav, M D Deshpande, H V Manjrekar, H G Jadhav.