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Sena-controlled BMC gave contracts to tainted firms, alleges Bhandari

Friday, February 17, 2017
By Prashant Hamine

Firing yet another salvo at the Shiv Sena yesterday, state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Madhav Bhandari alleged that the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had in its 2006 report pulled up the Sena-ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) over the purchase of the imported pothole repairing machine. Commenting upon the attempted postmortem of BJP's election manifesto by Sena MP Rahul Shewale earlier in the day, Bhandari retorted that had the Sena done a “Panchanama” (postmortem) of its dubious deals in road repairing and nullah desilting scams it would have benefited Mumbaikars a great deal.

Speaking to newspersons at Mumbai BJP headquarters in Dadar, the state BJP spokesperson wanted to know what happened to the imported “Jetpatcher” machine for repairing potholed roads in 2006-07. Bhandari wanted to know as to how much money the Sena-ruled BMC had spent in purchasing the machinery, whether it had secured the guarantee of pothole free roads and how much money was spent on the repairing of the potholed roads till 2017.

Tearing into the Sena style of running affairs in the BMC, Bhandari stated that the Income Tax (IT) department in 2010-11 raised objections and even probed K R Constructions which continued to get road repair contracts despite being blacklisted in the road repair scam. He said that the IT department in its probe had found that Mafatlal V Shah had been indulging in giving bogus bills (accommodation fees) to contractors without even supplying them with materials like steel, cement, and dumpers. Bhandari added that the state Sales Tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) departments have declared Mafatlal V Shah to be a Hawala dealer.

The state BJP spokesperson wanted to know on whose generosity and blessings did the tainted, blacklisted contractor was still getting the road repair contracts. Bhandari stated that the IT department had recommended to the BMC to take action against the contractor and wanted to further know why no action was being taken against the contractor. Referring to Shewale's charge of BJP copying Sena's manifesto, Bhandari stated that the BJP was carrying forward the Skill Development policy initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 and has assured to implement the same in BMC. He said that in the Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana, the Center and State together allocate funds to provide affordable health care to the poor.

Commenting upon Sena president Uddhav Thackeray's remark that the BJP was bringing back the infamous Emergency of 1975 over the latter's demand for three days ban on Sena mouthpiece Saamana in the run up to February 21 BMC elections, the state BJP spokesperson remarked that those (Sena) who had supported the 1975 Emergency had no right to talk about the Emergency. Bhandari stated that the BJP has merely asked the State Election Commission of Maharashtra (SECM) that it should ensure an equal footing treatment for all the political parties. He further added that the Sena itself states that Saamana is its official mouthpiece.

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