Slug: Underground drainage system
Aurangabad: The crime branch of the city police, which has been carrying out a parallel probe into the alleged irregularities in the Rs 465crore underground drainage project, is all set to register criminal offences against the civic authorities and the contractors.
The Aurangabad Municpal Corporation’s executive engineer Afsar Siddiqui, who was the project in charge, has already been suspended after the allegations of irregularities surfaced.
The civic standing committee has directed termination of the contract with the project management consultant that has failed to impart its duty of supervising and ensuring that the works are carried out in time and as per the provisions of the contract.
A senior police officer told TOI, “For all the irregularities in the project, the city police are going to register offences against the supervising authorities, including the engineers belonging to the civic body. The list of suspects will also include the contractors.”
“The case seems to have all the contents to turn out to be a huge scam. Investigations would reveal how the public money was wasted at the whims and mercies of the supervising authorities,” another officer.
An internal audit by the AMC has pointed out 25 glaring irregularities committed by civic officials and the project management committee, while executing the project.
The irregularities pointed out by the audit team include the three-month extension in deadline granted to the contractor. The contractor was supposed to complete the work by June 30 this year. The administration even proposed to pay the contractor an additional Rs 8 crore, the audit observed.
A crime branch official told TOI, “The file seeking approval for registration of offence has been sent to the commissioner of police. Once we get the go ahead, we would register offences and arrest the suspects.”
When contacted, commissioner of police Yashasvi Yadav said the entire picture would become clear in the next few days.
Sources said the city police, too, received an audit report indicting the civic officials as well as the contractor. The report shows the favours showered by the civic authorities on those executing the project, making everything fishy, said an officer who prepared a brief summary of the audit report, before it was sent to the police chief.
The preliminary inquiry by the crime branch has found criminal negligence by the supervising authorities as well as their connivance with the contractor in committing alleged irregularities.
Earlier this month, police started the probe after an activist lodged a complaint against the AMC and its authorities.