Heads roll in M.G. Road double billing scam
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Heads roll in M.G. Road double billing scam

June 5, 2019

MCC Assistant Executive Engineer Sunil Babu and Junior Engineer M.N. Mohanakumari suspended

Mysuru: Heads have rolled in the Mysuru City Corporation’s  (MCC) double billing scam where Rs.1.40 crore was allegedly siphoned off by submitting two bills for the same work on a stretch of Mahatma Gandhi Road. The State Government has suspended MCC Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE) Sunil Babu and Junior Engineer  (JE) M.N. Mohanakumari.

An order to this effect was issued on June 1 by Nagaraj, Under Secretary, Urban Development Department (Corporations – 2). The officers are in the dock for the alleged misappropriation along with contractor Karigowda who has been blacklisted now.

The order states that both the officers are barred from leaving the headquarters without the permission from the competent authority as they have caused losses to the MCC by misappropriating public funds.

In addition, the MCC has filed a complaint against the officers and the contractor with the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). Basically from parent Public Works Department, Sunil Babu and Mohanakumari were deputed to MCC one-and-a-half years back.

The complainant in this case is Council Opposition Leader B.V. Manjunath and based on his complaint, a Probe Committee was constituted which found the officers guilty.

The issue was raised by Manjunath at the Council Meeting on Jan.29 and on April 24, the 10-member Probe Committee, headed by Mayor Pushpalatha Jagannath, had written to the Government seeking disciplinary action against the officers as it has been proved that the officers were guilty.

Discrepancy of Rs.1.40 crore

MCC Zone-1 received Rs.4 crore under the MCC SFC Special Grants of Rs.50 crore. The Corporation took development of road and drains of NH-212 near M.G. Road via Agrahara Circle and invited the tender. Civil Contractor Karigowda won the bid for Rs.3.21 crore to complete the works in three phases.  The first and second phase of the works was completed for Rs.2.28 crore. The Probe Committee found that in the third bill there is a discrepancy of more than Rs.1.40 crore.

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The Probe Committee examined the documents and also conducted spot inspection thrice. In its 28-page report, the Committee has stated that a bill of Rs.1,33,57,353 was sanctioned to contractor Karigowda who did not even take up road repair works. The Committee found that Sunil Babu and M.N. Mohanakumari guilty of sanctioning the money and has recommended disciplinary action against them and also recommended a larger investigation into the scam.

Contractor, Third Party Firm guilty too

On contractor Karigowda, the Committee had observed that he has already pocketed Rs.1 crore under different heads and double billing and as such, he must be blacklisted and all other pending bills must not be sanctioned. Legal action must be initiated against him and he must be made to refund the money that he has taken for the works that were not initiated, the Committee had observed.

The Committee had found that Third Party Consultant CADD Station Solutions Pvt. Limited being hand-in-glove with the contractor and the guilty officers. As a consultant, CADD Station must have spotted the irregularities and alerted the MCC higher-ups. As claimed in the work completion report, interlocks were not used in the footpath works on M.G. Road.

While submitting the completion report, photographs of the works taken up in Ward 47 were attached and it was claimed that the photos were of M.G. Road. For this intentional lapse, CADD Station must be blacklisted and the tenders issued to it must be cancelled, the Committee had observed.

B.V. Manjunath reacts

Reacting on the suspension order, B.V. Manjunath told Star of Mysore that on the one hand he feels satisfied as he prevented public money from being misused; on the other hand he feels bad about two officers are in trouble. “The contractor’s licence must be revoked and a probe must be initiated on other officers who have a role to play in the scam. Also, the permit granted to third party consultant CADD Station Solutions Pvt. Limited must be withdrawn,” he said.

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