Mumbai Local

10 auditors arrested for cheating BMC in road contracts, Sena-BJP trade barbs

In the net:The police produce employees of an audit firm in connection with the road contracts scam, at Esplanade court.—Photo: Deepak Salvi  

The Azad Maidan police on Thursday arrested 10 third party quality auditors (TPQAs) in connection with a cheating complaint filed by the civic administration in April 2016. The accused have been remanded to police custody till June 21.

In the complaint, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation accused road contractors, civic officials and TPQAs of cheating it to the tune of Rs. 10.56 crore in 34 road contracts in the city.

The auditors worked with SGS India and Indian Register of Shipping (Industrial Services).

Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashok Dudhe told reporters: “Following investigations into the FIR lodged by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, where the complaint stated that work was not done as per the terms and conditions of the contract, the 10 employees were arrested.”

Asked why the arrests were limited to the TPQAs while the FIR seeks action against the road and infrastructure firms who submitted fake bills and documents, Mr. Dudhe said, “Investigations are on. As and when it turns out that anyone is involved in the crime, suitable action will be taken against them.”

Reacting to the arrests, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Ashish Shelar said, “Following the arrest of the 10 auditors, it will be the turn of the contractors and after that, the turn of those boastfully stating that they have fulfilled their poll promises.”

The complaint is in respect of a supervisory failure to check the poor quality of roads, and not about the contracts per se , said chairman of the Standing Committee in the BMC, Yashodhar Phanse (Shiv Sena). When told that the FIR listed the six road contractors along with auditing agencies for collusion and cheating the BMC of over Rs 10 crore, Mr. Phanse said, “Since investigations are on, it would not be proper to comment.”

Mayor Snehal Ambekar, however, said the “outburst by Shelar was uncalled for”, given that the BJP is as involved in the governance of the BMC as the Shiv Sena. “I had written to BMC chief Ajoy Mehta seeking a probe into the road contracts after receiving several complaints about taxpayers’ money being misused,” she said.

The auditors, who worked for SGS India and Indian Register of Shipping, were remanded to police custody till June 21

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 9:54:59 AM |

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