Mumbai: Former city mayor Kishori Pednekar has been summoned again by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the Covid-19 body bag scam. Pednekar hadn’t appeared before the agency on the earlier summons for Wednesday. After she requested a four-week extension to gather documents, the agency reissued the same summons for November 23.
According to sources, Pednekar was allegedly involved in inflating the cost of body bags in the BMC’s procurement process as per the Economic Offences Wing’s (EOW) FIR.
Pednekar Made Civic Officials To Award Contract To Vedanta Innotech
The investigation by the EOW allegedly revealed that two vendors were finalised after the bidding process in April 2020. The first company, Care Solution, was ready to supply body bags after negotiations at a rate of Rs 2,583 per unit. Pednekar, in her position as mayor, allegedly called Haridas Rathod, who was in charge of the Central Purchase Department, at her bungalow and told him to award the contract to Vedanta Innotech.
According to Rathod’s statement to EOW, he proposed the purchase order in favour of Care Solution. However, when the company delivered the first batch of 2,000 body bags, BMC officials rejected it without giving any reasons. Subsequently, the bags were declared unfit. According to the EOW investigation, until June 2020, an alternative supplier had not been finalised due to various reasons. The BMC began purchasing body bags from Vedanta Innotech at a rate of Rs6,719 per unit, over twice what other private hospitals and government authorities (Rs2,925) were charging during the same period.