Following allegations of corruption made by a corporator against a top Brihanmumbai Municipal
Corporation’s (BMC) official in a house meeting on Thursday, an operation is underway to delete the remarks from municipal
On Thursday, when the house met for a General
Body meeting, NCP corporator and group leader Niyaz Wanu alleged that Additional Municipal Commissioner (City) R A Rajeev
was “misusing” his discretionary powers to allot tenders for road repairs to his favourite contractors.
R A Rajeev
alleged this was being done without the approval of the Standing Committee, a statutory body consisting of corporators across
political parties. He also alleged that Rajeev was using the services of BMC contractors to build an opulent farmhouse at
Badlapur, near Kalyan.
Sources said Rajeev was in his official cabin when Wanu made these comments. When a person attending
the meeting told him about the charges, the IAS officer, who is second in rank to the municipal commissioner, rushed to Mayor
Shraddha Jadhav’s office to get the unflattering remarks about him deleted from the minutes of the meeting.
the junior bureaucracy at the BMC headquarters was at work, trying to undo the damage. Journalists who covered the meeting
were told that the mayor had asked Wanu to withdraw the “personal attack” against Rajeev.
When Wanu learnt
of this message, he asked the BMC chief public relations officer to issue a clarification that he was doing no such thing.
According to Municipal Secretary Mrudul Joshi, the remarks are still on record. “I am yet to receive the copy of the
minutes of the meetings. We will decide whether to delete the allegations made against Rajeev while editing them,” she
contacted, Rajeev told Mirror, “The mayor has asked Niyaz Wanu to withdraw his statements made at the corporation meeting.
NCP corporator Niyaz Wanu
Pic: Deepak Turbhekar
told me that Wanu left early from a meeting on Friday, otherwise she would’ve told him already. She has assured me that
they will be expunged from the records.”
But Wanu said, “Nothing should be deleted. I have spoken on record
at the general body meeting and it should be remain on record. No one should distort the facts.”
At the meeting
on Thursday Wanu had alleged that the corrupt system that awards contracts for road repairs had totally ignored honest contractors.
He claimed Rajeev’s favoured contractors were awarded the job and variations were later made to ensure that they got
more money than what they had quoted during the original bidding process.
“We need to find out who gets the money
from this deal. Honest citizens are paying taxes but some roads are never repaired. Even if they are repaired, the work is
done very badly,” Wanu told Mumbai Mirror.
Wanu also said that BMC had purchased three jetpatchers – machines
to repair damaged roads – at a cost of more than Rs 1 crore each, which he alleged Rajeev had given to contractors for
free. The BMC now hires these machines from the contractors for a fee and pays Rs 60 lakh for maintenance when, he said, it
was the contractors who were supposed to spend on their upkeep.
Questions were also raised about the source of funds
for Rajeev’s farmhouse. Wanu has asked Municipal Commissioner Swadhin Kshatriya to set up an enquiry committee to investigate
Rajeev’s official income and how he is “manipulating the civic system” to favour a particular road contractor.
asked about his Badlapur farmhouse, Rajeev said the government had all the details, including the cost details and the completion
About the jetpatcher machines, he said, “Wanu was present at the standing committee meeting when
the proposal was cleared and is conveniently forgetting that. His allegations are baseless and motivated. The BMC did not
meet his irrational and illegal demands, so he is desperate and frustrated.”
Wanu counter-alleged, saying, “I
have exposed Rajeev in front of everyone, so he is hitting out against me.”