GURUGRAM: Ever seen or heard about construction and demolition (C&D) waste being carried on a motorbike, an SUV or a bus?
These were the vehicles that were supposedly used to collect and transport C&D debris in the city, a committee set up by the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) has found in an inquiry to investigate the alleged Rs 50 crore scam.
The report, submitted to the Haryana government in January, is yet to be released despite demands from Gurgaon mayor Madhu Azad. MCG says the government is yet to take a final decision on the report.
The issue is related to alleged corruption flagged by an RTI activist in September last year.
He alleged that a private firm engaged by the MCG in February 2019 to collect C&D waste earned around Rs 50 crore fraudulently in the last two years. He also alleged that MCG officials were involved.
According to an MCG source aware of the matter, the Gurgaon-based private firm listed the details of vehicles employed by it to transport C&D waste. A scrutiny by the four-member panel found that the vehicles listed include a Rajdoot motorcycle, a Maruti Gypsy registered on a Sonepat number and around 10 buses belonging to separate institutions, the source said.
Normally, heavy vehicles such as trucks and tractors are used to carry such waste.
“The vehicle numbers submitted by the private company along with the bills were scrutinised and when these were checked on the e-vahan portal, it was found that not even a single commercial vehicle was used by the company. In fact, the vehicle numbers were found to be of a bike, a gypsy and buses,” a senior MCG official, who wished to remain anonymous, said.
The panel found that the firm billed MCG around Rs 1.5 crore for its services during the first lockdown imposed in March 2020, when most businesses were closed for operations over the next few weeks.
Further, anomalies were found in the transportation time taken to collect and transport C&D waste, MCG officials said.
For instance, a transportation route that would normally take around two hours to cover was shown in the firm’s records to be completed in half-an-hour.
This makes it evident that the details of services that the firm reportedly provided to the MCG were “fake”, the source said.
When asked about the findings, the firm said all allegations against it were baseless and that it never had any representation before the committee.
“We have all relevant documents to prove that these allegations are false and baseless. We are reiterating that we were never called during the inquiry,” said a company spokesperson.
The issue was first raised in a complaint to the Haryana government by Raman Sharma in September 2021. Subsequently, the Haryana Urban Local Bodies (ULB) directed MCG in October to probe the matter.
In response, MCG formed a four-member panel – joint commissioner Satish Yadav, chief engineer Thakur Lal Sharma, chief accounts officer Vijay Kumar, district attorney Savita Choudhry -– and their report was submitted to the state government in January. The contents of the report have not been released, prompting repeated by Gurgaon mayor Madhu Azad who has called for transparency.
“After the house meeting, I wrote a letter to the MCG commissioner to share the report with me but I still haven’t received it. As the mayor of the city, I can assess any record of the MCG and the report is also a part of the MCG documents,” Azad said.
MCG commissioner Mukesh Kumar Ahuja did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.
The official said there were norms that were not followed as well. The company was supposed to install GPS tracker and radio frequency identification (RFID) readers in its vehicles to allow the civic body to monitor the transport of the waste. This was never done, the official said.
He added that the MCG did not take a necessary approval from the state government when it made a payment over Rs 2.5 crore in this case.“A municipal corporation in the state has the financial powers to accord the administrative approval up to Rs 2.5 crore. However, in this case, MCG had to pay Rs 2.88 crore to the company (when the tender was awarded).”
The firm’s contract was suspended by MCG last month but a formal police complaint is yet to be filed. Separately, the Haryana government appointed another committee to investigate the alleged scam and its report is pending.