Palike engineers looted public money with Python machine: TVCC report

Palike engineers looted public money with Python machine: TVCC report

The City’s potholes that have claimed lives and crippled motorists, could also be at the centre of another scam. Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike engineers are accused of looting public money using the Python-5000 pothole filling machine.

An investigation by the Technical Vigilance Cell under Commissioner (TVCC) of the BBMP unearthed financial irregularities of Rs 1.43 crore. The scale of the scam could have gone up to Rs 6.05 crore had the bills been cleared and payments made to the contractor.

The pothole filling job was divided into six packages but details provided to the TVCC were of five packages comprising 92 roads in the City. The total length of the road where potholes were filled was 557 km.

Following public outcry against potholes, the BBMP had decided to rope in an agency to fill potholes using the Python-5000 machine. However, after media reports about large-scale irregularities in the work, Mayor B N Manjunath Reddy directed the TVCC to probe it.

The report said bills were claimed even for roads where work was not done and the length of roads mentioned in the bill was also doubtful. Tenders were invited without  preparing an estimate of the work, the report said. Because of this, the estimated cost was not fixed, leading to a financial loss to the Palike.

The two firms which bid for the work were PJB Engineers Limited and American Technologies. However, their Evaluation Report is missing from the records.

The Palike engineers did not have records to show whether they entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) or sought any undertaking from the contractor, says the TVCC report.

There were also no records about the office, infrastructure and manpower of the contractors. As all the contracts under the six packages were given to American Technologies and there are no records to show that it has deposited the Line of Credit worth Rs 15 crore to carry out the work, the report said.

The report added that bills were claimed for filling potholes on roads that were already tarred. As the work was carried out by the pothole filling machine, there were no records to show the temperature of the bitumen at the time of filling potholes.

The TVCC has recommended action against executive engineers, assistant executive engineers and assistant engineers for dereliction of duty.

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