MUMBAI: Under fire for delaying the installation of CCTV cameras at police stations across Maharashtra, one of the contractors for the project tried establishing his bona fide before the Bombay High Court on Friday stating that the cameras it had installed in New Delhi had helped the police identify the "culprits" in the 2020 northeast Delhi riots.
Javi Systems India Pvt Ltd, a Bengaluru-based company, made the submission before a bench of Justices SJ Kathawalla and Milind Jadhav. The bench had directed Javi, and the other contractor, Pune-based Sujata Computers, to remain present in court on Friday to explain the delay in the work.
As per the hearing, while the installation of CCTV cameras was to be completed within 22 weeks from the date the contract was finalised in August last year, the two contractors had installed only half of the targeted number of cameras and had sought 16 more weeks to complete the work.
Maharashtra Advocate General (AG) Ashutosh Kumbhakoni informed the court that the two contractors regretted the delay and were willing to give an undertaking explaining the same to give the court an idea of by when the work will be completed.
The contractors further told the court that they had completed 65 per cent of the work commissioned, and the rest will be done within "eight to 10 days". Kumbhakoni told the court that the contractors had done good work in the past and hence, were selected by the state government for the Rs 65 crore project.
Two years ago, the company did a city surveillance CCTV project for Delhi, the counsel for Javi said. "They are saying that their system helped the Delhi administration identify the culprits in the Delhi riots," the AG told the court about Javi.
The High Court then asked why the state government had not chosen L&T, which had installed the CCTV cameras at traffic signals across Mumbai. "It is very awkward to say this in open court, but L&T says that it doesn't engage in 'paan bidi shop work'. Rs 65 crore was too less for them," Kumbhakoni said.
The court then interjected to say that it didn't care even if the budget was Rs 650 crore, as long as the work was completed. "Let the budget be Rs 650 crore. We don't mind. But the project must be completed and the SC order must be complied with fully. We just want the end result," the bench said.
"We are not at all satisfied with the way these contracts were given in the present case. There were 13 more bidders and the only thing is that the bids by these two were considerably low, and very similar to each other (these two)," it said.
The High Court has sought the undertaking from the two contractors by March 15, the next date of hearing.