BMC COVID Jumbo Centre Scam: IAS Officer Sanjeev Jaiswal Questioned By ED For 10 Hours

BMC COVID Jumbo Centre Scam: IAS Officer Sanjeev Jaiswal Questioned By ED For 10 Hours

The questioning focused on the procurements of medical supplies and the approval of contractors in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dharmesh ThakkarUpdated: Friday, June 30, 2023, 11:10 PM IST
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IAS Sanjeev Jaiswal |

IAS Officer Sanjeev Jaiswal was subjected to intense questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for a duration of 10 hours.

The senior bureaucrat of 1996 batch had skipped two prior summons by the agency which had led to people raising question and suspecting that ED is going easy on him.

Jaiswal, a 1996 IAS officer and at present serving as MHADA CEO, was the BMC additional municipal commissioner during the pandemic. He arrived at the ED office at 11.30am to record a statement on the third summon by the agency investigating money laundering in the Covid supplies and jumbo centre contracts worth nearly Rs4,000 crore.

Questioning by ED to Jaiswal

The questioning focused on the procurements of medical supplies and the approval of contractors in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jaiswal was specifically queried about the process followed to award tenders and the alleged irregularities in contracts, which included higher rates for COVID medicines and body bags.

During the questioning, Jaiswal was asked to provide details and documents to support his claim that all payments were processed by the Central Purchase Department (CPD) and the municipal commissioner, Iqbal Singh Chahal. Jaiswal maintained his stance, asserting that he had no involvement in the payments made to the contractors.

Will come again if called, says Jaiswal

After the extensive session of interrogation, Jaiswal was allowed to return home. He expressed his willingness to cooperate with the investigation, stating, "I cooperated during the investigation. However, I was unwell, which is why I couldn't attend the last two summons. If they call me again, I will surely come."

The case against Jaiswal

The ED had conducted multiple simultaneous raids on June 21 at 15 locations in Mumbai and Thane in connection with the scam linked to BMC officials and close aides of Uddhav Thackeray’s family. Preliminary investigation revealed irregularities in emergency purchase of PPE kits, gloves, masks, ventilators and oxygen while favouring select vendors with no prior experience. Aaditya Thackeary’s aide Suraj Chavan was also summoned on Monday and questioned for eight hours.

The ED had seized 24 property documents and Rs15 crore fixed deposit certificates from Jaiswal’s Bandra residence. “Seizure from Chavan’s residence is peanuts compared to Jaiswal’s properties and investments. Several incriminating documents linked to Jaiswal’s benami investments abroad through a Thane-based architect and town planning officials are known to the ED but no action taken,” alleged a non-IAS civic official on the investigation.

Alleging preferential treatment to bureaucrats, a political leader said, “Politicians have to face elections and voters every five years but IAS babus manipulate policy decisions and rule India for 30-35 years till retirement without any accountability. Only politicians get arrested and cases registered against them while babus don’t face any action for corruption.”

So far, eight persons have recorded their statements in the scam in which irregularities in the purchase of medicines at 25-30% higher rates and body bags supplied to the civic body’s CPD at Rs6,800. Notably, other hospitals got the same bags at Rs2,000, it was detected.

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