This time, the BJP has attacked the civic body on alleged corruption in the procurement of grease for pumping stations.
The BJP’s Girishchandra Vyas raised the issue during Question Hour in the Upper House, saying there had been corruption to the tune of Rs 3 crore in the purchase of grease. He sought timelines on how the civic body plans to recover the money from guilty officials, and the action taken against them.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is in charge of the state urban development department, admitted that there had been misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 2.19 crore in the purchase of grease for the pumping stations. He said the state would direct the BMC chief to revisit the case for a stricter punishment to recover the funds from employees found guilty.
“The BMC commissioner conducted an inquiry based on the chief accountant’s report of January 2004. A total of 27 employees were found to be guilty. Of them, eight have retired and the BMC has decided to recover Rs 49.71 lakh from the salaries of the employees concerned . However, we are recovering only 20 per cent of the amount lost, and I am not satisfied with this. I will ask the municipal commissioner to reopen the case and try to recover the maximum amount possible,” the chief minister said.
He added that grease was ordinarily being purchased at Rs 71 per kg and with certain changes in the specifications, the procurement cost suddenly shot up to Rs 2,785 per kg.
Shiv Sena MLC Anil Parab asked if the government would make this rule of strict action for recovery applicable to all cases of corruption across the state, instead of isolating the BMC.
“In our system, people are punished for corruption, but the money stolen never comes back to the government’s coffers. So in all such cases, we should look at how the maximum of the money can be brought back,” Fadnavis said.
The BJP’s city unit, under the leadership of Ashish Shelar, has been actively targeting the BMC for corruption, despite being a partner in the ruling alliance, with the civic elections due early next year. Party leaders have targeted the BMC over various issues, including roads, drains, solid-waste management contracts and corruption in the building proposals department.