THE Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has directed the officials to stop execution of the award passed after an arbitration in favour of an irrigation contract firm pending completion of inquiry by chief secretary of the state.
The bench comprising Justices Bhushan Gavai and Pradip Deshmukh issued the directive Thursday on a petition filed by local NGO Jan Manch for expeditious probe into the irrigation scam in the Vidarbha projects.
The Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) had awarded contract of Mokhabardi Lift Irrigation Project to Tapi Prestressed Products Pvt Ltd in 2010 but the company ran into a dispute with the VIDC over laying of pipes.
The matter went into arbitration in 2012 and an award of Rs 20 crore with interest of Rs 12.55 crore was passed in favour of the company.
The VIDC chose not to go into challenge but raised several queries at the time of execution of the award for which the company had moved a civil court.
When the issue came up before the HC last week, the bench directed that the officials concerned should be suspended and the amount be recovered from them.
On Thursday, the bench directed that the payment to the company be stopped. This was following Associate Advocate General Rohit Deo submitting before the court the latest development of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordering a probe by chief secretary.
“If it is found that there was a fraud in the whole episode and there was official connivance then the payment can’t be made and the officials be punished for the act. That is how the HC felt in the matter,” Anil Killor, Jan Manch activist and a lawyer told The Indian Express.
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