Rock solid support
The ruling BJP tasked the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) to audit the accounts of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) with a view to fix the civic administration. The CAG unearthed a scam in the award of contracts worth over Rs12,000 crore. Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis placed the report on the floor of the Vidhan Sabha. Municipal commissioner IS Chahal, who has the solid backing of CM Eknath Shinde, told the BJP to take a walk. Now, the BJP has asked the CAG to conduct a second audit. The BJP is expecting that the second audit will expose some sensational scandal. But if Shinde continues to stand rock solid behind Chahal not even a hundred CAG reports can do anything to him. Incidentally, because of the tremendous political backing received by Chahal, several assistant municipal commissioners, who made a killing during the pandemic, are supremely confident that no action would be taken against him. Said a BJP MLA, “It is shocking that our government cannot do anything about the BMC administration.”
Then there is this builder of Mumbai who is picking up one redevelopment project after another in Mumbai with alacrity when other developers are facing a financial crunch. The reason for this is the ample supply of funds that are flowing into this self-made builder’s accounts from a senior Congress politician and an IPS officer who, at one time, lorded over Mumbai. This particular builder had a small electronics repair shop some years ago. But today his net worth runs into a few thousand crores. What is significant is that he is thriving when the BJP-Shiv Sena is in power, even though his proximity is to this big neta from Marathwada. His files are cleared superfast by the building proposals department. When a police chowky was coming in the way of his plans, he got an order to have it removed, such is his clout. A worker died at one of his construction sites, and he was not even called for questioning by the cops.
The Shinde-Fadnavis government has dropped all charges against former Mumbai Commissioner of Police Parambir Singh and even treated his period of suspension as “on duty”. The question now arises what happens to the finding of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that Singh paid Rs5 lakh from the CP’s secret fund to a hacker. The NIA said the payment was made in the CP’s office. The hacker was allegedly asked to make a message appear as if it was sent from Tihar jail. If Singh was totally innocent as claimed by the Shinde-Fadnavis government, then this charge also needs to be dropped. But the hitch is that the charge was made by the NIA which is under the Centre. Will the NIA oblige the Maharashtra government? That is the million dollar question which is being asked in the corridors of Mantralaya. Meanwhile, a high-profile scribe, who is a staunch BJP supporter, feels totally let down. This is because he had conducted a marathon campaign against Singh and at the end nothing happened to the retired IPS officer. Samajh gaye na??
Tailpiece: The BMC spent a whopping Rs883 crore in a year to transport garbage from different parts of Mumbai to the dumping grounds. What is interesting is that many of the trucks used for transport are supplied by a controversial city leader. An investigation will reveal the details of a scam which will blow in the face of the authorities.
Compiled by S Balakrishnan