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I see ACB lacking in corruption case against Bhujbal

The Anti-Corruption Bureau filed an FIR against former Maharashtra Minister and NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal in connection with Maharashtra Sadan scam, three days after registering a case against him in allotment of land in Kalina in Mumbai. Bhujbal was Public Works Department Minister in the previous Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra. The FIR names him, his son Pankaj, nephew Samir and 14 others. The case relates to awarding of contract for construction of new building of Maharashtra Sadan, the state government’s guest house in New Delhi. If we see the FIR and analyse it then really big fish and actual culprits are missing.

The other accused named in the FIR are Arun Deodhar, Devdutt Marathe, Bipin Sankhe, Krishna Chamankar, Pranita Chamankar, Tanvir Sheikh, Sanjay Joshi, Manik Shaha, Deepak Deshpande, Anil Kumar Gaikwad, Pravina Chamankar, Prasanna Chamankar, Iram Tanvir Sheikh and Geeta Joshi. Following a complaint lodged by Aam Aadmi Party leader Anjali Damania, state ACB had initiated a probe against the Bhujbal and his family. Damania had alleged that there had been rampant corruption and large-scale irregularities in the construction of the new Maharashtra Sadan.

The Public Works Department, under Bhujbal, awarded sub-contracts to firms in a blatant violation of rules. All these firms were floated or controlled by the members of the Bhujbal family, Damania alleged. In April this year, the Bombay High Court had observed that there was prima facie evidence and ACB can register an FIR if a case of corruption was made out. The new Maharashtra Sadan was built at the cost of Rs. 1000 crore when Congress-NCP coalition was in power in Maharashtra.

Here are some of my findings which I am stating. First and foremost thing which has surprised me was big names from FIR were missing those are potential and actual culprits in the entire scam. We have to find out who is sheltering them?

ACB points out that tender papers were approved by changed technical criteria.

Now let me explain, for drafting tender papers for approval chief engineers are fully competent authority, he can make any changes in the criteria etc. This DTP (Draft tender paper) goes to chief engineer for approval, so even in this Kalina case the draft of tender was read and approved by then chief engineer Mr. S B Tamsekar.

DTP (Draft tender paper) was approved by Chief Engineer Tamsekar, after getting “India Bulls” tender which was found much more beneficial for government. The tender was recommended by Tamsekar to government for acceptance. Even though, Tamsekar recommended the tender, his name had not appeared in the FIR, what was the reason? Is ACB only acting against the OBC minister and officials, we have to think over it.

The said “India Bulls” tender was processed by G M Kandhare, secretary to INFRA Committee but even his name is not mentioned in FIR. What the ACB is trying to prove or is it working as a remote control to someone else?

Chief Engineer’s secretary processed those tender, but his name is also missing from the FIR. However, three officers name were mentioned in FIR for considering ‘super built up area’ in feasibility report. Out of three officials, one is bedridden and can leave for heavenly abode whereas two others were following their masters’ instruction and ministers.

Moreover, feasibility report is an internal document, which is confidential and not known to prospective developer. His role comes after opening of the tender, till then all these details remains inside department as confidential. Feasibility document check the feasibility and it does not have anything to do with losses or profits. Once the bid comes through the competitive bidder after advertisement published in newspapers, loss/profit is decided.

Developer is appointed after the completion of bidding. So, there is no question here for putting developer in mind at the time of feasibility report. I think ACB is not working properly or misguided.

Furthermore, “superbuiltup concept” is not based on any government rules or regulations or any specific guidelines. In the past too chief architect was instructed to add super built up area of (25% to 35%) on and above actual built up area to calculate the probable earning of the developer, so in some of projects PWD department followed it.

Later on, while submitting latest feasibility report of Kalina project it was noticed that government was very aggressive on ‘super built up concept’, it decided to put builders behind bar for three years, if found adding ‘super built up area’ on actual built up area. Even during public accounts committee many such issues were never discussed or solved.

One of the PWD’s officer told that Maharashtra Government has lost about Rs. 50 crore on account of non-considering super built up  area, which is not only baseless but against the law.

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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