Missing files stall probe into dubious bids

Firms with directors from blacklisted companies will be barred.

A day after the civic administration blacklisted five contractors for submitting fake bills to sewerage department, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and BMC are finding it difficult to investigate all the 32 contractors due to lack of genuine papers and missing files.

ACB, which has been investigating these contractors since 2011, has been unable to proceed with the probe as the BMC has been unable to scrutinse work orders and submit reports. ACB, meanwhile, took cognisance of corruption and malpractices and filed an FIR against the contractors.

Raj Khilnani, director-general of ACB, said, "The investigations are delayed as we are not able to access all the paperwork and work orders. We need to work together with the civic administration to complete the investigations at the earliest."

Senior civic officials admitted that the required papers, files and work orders of the contractors were not available in the required form.

The irregularities date back to 2008, when contractors allegedly tried to cheat the civic body by submitting bills worth Rs 95 crore for work on sewer lines and manholes. "If we do not have the original papers, how do we find out the authenticity of contracts and work orders? Also, a majority of the work they claimed to have done was construction and repair of sewer pipelines which are underground. It is difficult to check these details," said an official.

Meanwhile, BMC has initiated an internal inquiry of its officials involved in the scam. Rajiv Jalota, additional municipal commissioner, said, "We have initated a departmental inquiry which is expected to take about six months."

Upping the ante against dubious contractors, BMC, for the first time, blacklisted 11 for submitting fake bills and trying to sabotage civic systems. Of these, six carry out civil work contracts (CWC). They have been banned for six years. The rest carry out sewerage department related works and have been banned permanently.

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