Despite ACB letter, BMC fails to file case against importer

'costly' firefighting gear Importer also involved in bomb suits scam

BMC has been dithering on a letter sent by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in September 2012, which recommended that the civic body file a forgery and cheating case against importer Bimal Agarwal for sale of firefighting gear at extravagant prices.

The ACB's letter, which was addressed to the municipal commissioner, also alleged that though there was no clear criminal misconduct by BMC officials, there was negligence on part of three former chief fire officers and a vigilance officer who had cleared the purchases and relevant documentation.

"No clear criminal misconduct found, but there was enough evidence to prove forgery and cheating by the importer, and negligence in the verification process by BMC officials. Since we deal only with corruption cases, we had written to the BMC September last, asking it to get an FIR filed with the police," said an ACB officer.

According to the officer, the ACB also asked BMC to initiate a departmental inquiry to probe negligence of its officers, as no effort was allegedly made to verify documents provided by the importer or check the prices quoted. The former chief fire officers (CFOs) named in the inquiry are Uday Tatkare, Pratab Karguppikar and Anil Sawant, while the vigilance officer named is A G Shrotri. While Tatkare died of heart attack in April 2011, the other officers have retired.

"We met BMC officials last month, and they indicated that some action would be taken soon on our recommendations. This should have been done while Agarwal was still behind bars in connection with a bomb-suit scam, as it would have made it difficult for him to secure bail," said the officer.

Additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar said, "The officers who have been named in the inquiry will be probed. Further line of action will be decided after the enquiry report." Deputy municipal commissioner Arvind Hire has been appointed as the enquiry officer, she said.

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