A fake bill scam has reared its ugly head for the second time in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) Gandhi Nagar ward, which is coterminous with the Gandhi Nagar Assembly constituency represented by Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies Dinesh Gundu Rao.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Yediyur corporator N R Ramesh released an investigation report prepared by the BBMP’s Technical Vigilance Cell under Commissioner (TVCC), which reveals that attempts were made to siphon off Rs 4.33 crore from the BBMP by showing asphalting of six roads that were tarred in May this year.
The probe was conducted when the BBMP’s West Division engineers submitted a proposal to asphalt six roads, which they said were ruined two months after they were tarred.
They had prepared an action plan for the rebuilding and got it approved by the BBMP head office. Placing the work in the “urgent” category, the engineers wanted to bypass the tendering process and hand over the work to the Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Limited, which charges 11 per cent more than the contract amount.
Suspicious about the action plan, the Special Commissioner had referred the matter to the TVCC.
The TVCC team, which visited the spot, noted that the roads were in good condition and that there was no reason to re-asphalt the road. The engineers hid the actual condition of the road and got the action plan approved, says the TVCC report.
The TVCC has held the executive engineer, assistant executive engineer and the assistant engineer accountable for “attempting to furnish two separate bills for the same work”. It has recommended stringent disciplinary action against them.
Ramesh alleged that Dinesh Gundu Rao had written two letters to pressure the BBMP to release funds for the work that was completed two months ago and for which payments have already been made.
The BBMP had issued the job code for repairing roads on March 19, 2013, as part of Palike’s City development works. As the then BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah grew suspicious about the work, he froze all works ahead of the Assembly elections. Later, these works were started following political pressure.
The job codes were issued based on the “Letter of Intent”, which the High Court had banned. The works were started on January 29, 2014 in anticipation of technical approval without seeking necessary permission from the authorities.
The completion report was submitted in May 2014. Two months later, however, the action plan for the same roads was prepared again and the proposal was approved by the Palike head office. The engineers wrote in their action plan that the road has been dug up to give sewerage connection to individual houses.
However, the roads mentioned by these engineers in their report have only commercial buildings. Also, there is no information about the works carried out by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board. There is also no mention about the works in the road history book.
Reacting to the allegations, the minister termed corporator Ramesh a fraud masquerading as a crusader. “There can be some error by the engineers while drafting the action plan, which can happen in his (Ramesh’s) ward too,” he said.
Rao said that as an MLA, he keeps writing letters to various agencies, including the BBMP, but he never endorsed duplication or overlapping of works.
He said if any work has already taken place, then the fund would be diverted for some other works by changing the nomenclature. The minister said he was in Bellary and he would check with the engineers after returning to Bangalore to give reply to the allegations.