KOCHI: More than 200 tonnes of waste removed on motorcycles! Surprised!! You must be thinking, is it possible? Well, according to the files that the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) came across at Aluva municipality, it is. The impossible feat came to light when VACB officers scrutinised the bills submitted by the contractors who had been assigned to remove waste on a daily basis since 2011.
The VACB found 10 bills, submitted between 2011 and 2014, claiming remuneration for 223.93 tonnes of waste removed using motorcycles. M A Noushad, a contractor, had filed bills dated June 29, July 7, 15, 19 and 28, June 29 and August 28, 2011 claiming Rs 2,04,228 for 151.28 tonnes of waste removed using motorcycles having registration no. KL-08-AF-659 4 and KL-05-N-3490.
Another contractor Babu Joseph had filed similar bills on March 28 and December 4, 2013 claiming Rs 81,915 for 45.3 tonnes of waste removed. The numbers of the vehicles used are KL-08-AV-2008 and KL-41-G-4736. The third contractor, M P Shaji, claimed Rs 50,690 for 27.4 tonnes of waste removed on June 18 and July 24, 2014.
During the investigation the officers discovered that the graft took place with the knowledge of junior health officers, Anil Kumar, Z Prakash and Shiyasudheen, who is currently working at the department. They had been assigned to supervise the waste disposal system.
“It is quite clear that there was a connivance between the contractors and the health inspectors. These officials were supposed to keep an eye on the removal of waste by the contractors on a daily basis. The duplicity on the part of the health inspectors and the contractors has cost the Municipality Rs 3.36 lakh. Besides corruption, the case raises questions over the efficacy of the waste disposal system in Aluva,” a VACB officer said.
The Vigilance Director has directed the district unit to initiate a detailed probe. A case has been registered under sections 465, 468, 471 and 120(B) of IPC and section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. A FIR was filed at the Muvattupuzha Vigilance Court last week.
However, Lissy Abraham, Municipal Chairperson Aluva said there has been no corruption. The mistakes in the bill had come to her notice during auditing. She said the mistake must have happened at the weigh bridge where the vehicles carrying waste were weighed. “We checked the details after the anomaly came to our notice. Usually, the vehicles carrying waste are weighed at night. Migrant workers must have weighed the vehicles and the mistake might have been made by them. Our officials are not involved in any corrupt activities. Everything is transparent here. Anyone can check the files to know the truth,” she added.