The Nagpur Smart and Sustainable City Development Corporation Limited (NSSCDCL) Board of Directors on Friday removed Tukaram Mundhe, Nagpur Municipal Commissioner, as the chief executive officer of the development corporation and appointed his deputy, Mahesh Morone, as its officiating CEO.
Following a four-hour meeting, the Board unanimously announced that Mundhe’s take over as the CEO of the NSSCDCL in February did not conform to the norms laid down.
NSSCDCL chairman Pravin Pardeshi, who is also the Additional Chief Secretary of the Urban Development Department, told The Indian Express, “The government resolution is very clear. The CEO needs to be an independent person, not with dual charge as per the company law. Municipal commissioner is not ex-officio CEO. Deputy CEO can officiate as CEO till a new one is appointed. The new CEO can be appointed only by the Board of directors, which was unanimous about it. So, Mundhe was asked to not officiate and Morone was appointed….”
A controversy had been raging over Mundhe allegedly “usurping” the post, with Nagpur Mayor Sandeep Joshi and Union Minister and Nagpur MP Nitin Gadkari calling it a “big fraud”. Gadkari had even complained to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), seeking strict action against Mundhe.
Mundhe had dismissed the charge as “ridiculous” and had maintained that he was asked by Pardeshi to take over as CEO via mobile communication. He had also reiterated a few times that as the municipal commissioner, he was the ex-officio CEO of NSSCDCL. Asked about the same, Pardeshi said, “I had told him to look after the Smart City work, not take over as CEO. My letter to him on the issue in February was very clear. I had asked him to put the issue of appointment of CEO before the board.”
Earlier, Mundhe was also appointed the director of the corporation. The Board, comprising 14 members with two independent directors, chartered accountants Jaydeep Shah and Aniruddha Shenwai, also approved the payments made by Mundhe to two companies towards the work done under a project. The BJP had accused Mundhe of fraudulently operating the company’s bank account, along with Chief Accounts and Financial Officer (CAFI) Mona Thakur, to disburse the money.
However, there was displeasure over some of Mundhe’s moves, including not giving compensatory allowance to residents of localities in the vicinity of the 39-km road work in the Pardi Flyover project.
The issue of Mundhe terminating the services of some employees of NSSCDCL is sub-judice and hence wasn’t taken up. Seven of the employees had Thursday, moved the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court challenging the termination.
It was also decided by the board to get all the work done by Mundhe under the project during the last four months ratified by consulting the Advocate General of India.
After CAFO Mona Thakur said she would not like to continue in the post, the board decided to replace her.
Sandip Joshi said, “We stand vindicated as we have been saying this all along, that Mundhe had illegally occupied the post of CEO.
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