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State Govt delay to grant ACB open probe nod in Kharghar toll scam irks HC

The Bombay High Court questioned the Maharashtra governments “failure” in taking a decision on two letters sent by the Anti-Corruption Bureau seeking permission to conduct an open enquiry into alleged scam in tendering process of Kharghar toll collection centre on Sion-Panvel highway in Navi Mumbai.

The ACB had sent letters to the state Home department in September and December last year seeking its nod for the open enquiry. The agency informed the high court that it has not received any reply from the government till date.

A division bench headed by Justice R V More asked the government why it has failed to take a decision on the letters and what is causing the delay.

“If you (govt) don’t want to take a decision then we will step in and pass appropriate order,” Justice More said.

The court posted the petition for further hearing on February 26, by when the government is expected to file its reply.

The agency had filed an affidavit in the high court on February 8 in response to a PIL filed by activist Pravin Wategaonkar, alleging bias and breach of rules in the tender process.

Wategaonkar had sought direction to ACB to look into the alleged scam.

As per the ACB affidavit, it has already conducted a preliminary enquiry into the allegations last year.

“The construction of the highway, the toll collection and so on are connected with the state PWD, MSRDC and other private and government agencies. Also, the process of tendering, construction and so on involved highly technical issues, hence an open enquiry is necessary before appropriate action is taken against persons involved, if any,” the affidavit said.

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