MUMBAI: Maharashtra government has decided to initiate a probe into the Rs 358 crore road construction and toll charges scam in the Public Works Department (PWD) which was carried when the President's rule was imposed in Maharashtra.
The Bombay High Court on Monday also came heavily on the three senior bureaucrats Manoj Saunik, JC Joshi and Ajit Sangne of Public Works Department (PWD) for creating false and incorrect records.
It was alleged that the 2012 road construction work litigation file was approved within the 15 days mostly in president rule.
While Ajoy Mehta, state chief secretary and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari were not available for comment, Ashok Chavan, minister of PWD said that they will recover the state government's money.
"It is the honest taxpayers' money, it was not be squandered. And, the matter is subjudiced but we will also plan to probe this Rs 358 crore road and toll contract issue,” minister ensured.
According to the Maharashtra state public works department, the Manaj Tollway had the allotted the 41-kilometer road construction and maintenance work near Pune at the cost of Rs 44 crore in 2012.
“The Manaj Tollway did not complete the work so the matter went to arbitrator settlement and demanded his dues with interest.
"The arbitrator passed the order and asked the state government to pay Rs 332 crore with 15 per cent interest in August 2018. The state government appealed this order of arbitrator in Bombay High court,” stated the PWD official.
However, Manaj Tollway sent the settlement letter to the state government in November 2018 and filed the execution petition in court.
The first meeting between the Chandrakant Patil, erstwhile PWD minister with Manaj Tollway was in December 2018, in connection to the settlement of this controversial issue.
Judicial opinion was sought where it remarked that this case should not be pursued further.
Meanwhile, President's rule was imposed in Maharashtra on November 12, 2019 after an unclear outcome in the state legislative elections till November 28 when the new government formed by the Congress, NCP and the Shiv Sena, came to power.
The PWD and Manaj Tollway signed the settlement terms between them where the government agreed to offer Rs 358 crore to the company (Manaj Tollway) including interest. The same was filed as consent in High Court on December 12, 2019.