Might order CAG audit: Bombay HC over alleged Mumbai-Pune Expressway toll anomalies
Might order CAG audit: Bombay HC over alleged Mumbai-Pune Expressway toll anomalies

Mumbai: In what can spell serious troubles for the Maharashtra government, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday while summoning the advocate general to appear before it in the petition alleging serious anomalies in the Mumbai-Pune Expressway toll collection, indicated that it might order an audit by the CAG in the matter.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni ordered AG Ashutosh Kumbhakoni to appear before it on Thursday morning.

The bench was irked over the affidavit filed by the MSRDC, the authority dealing with the toll collection of the expressway.

In its affidavit the MSRDC had stated that the private firm, subcontracted by it, to collect the toll and maintain the expressway, would continue to collect the money till 2030. It had stated that initially the toll was to be collected till 2019, however, due to several reasons, primarily the fact that citizens to evade paying the toll used the National Highway 04, couldn't recover the amount totalling around Rs 3,632 crore. It further claimed that the amount has now scaled up to over Rs 4000 crores.

On Wednesday, when the matter was called out for hearing, the bench sought to know if the amount of Rs 3,632 crores wasn't recovered since 2004. "Who would believe that this amount couldn't be recovered in all these years?" the bench observed.

The judges, accordingly, summoned AG Kumbhakoni to appear for the state on Thursday morning. "We want the AG to appear before us on Thursday morning," the judges said.

The bench, while adjourning the hearing till Thursday, opined that it might have to order an audit even by the CAG in the toll collections.

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