Kalu dam scam: Five state officials, contractor booked for cheating

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THANE: The Thane unit of the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) on Monday booked fiveengineers from the state irrigation department—four of them have retired—and the partners of the controversial firm FA Enterprises that had won the bid to build Kalu dam in Murbad allegedly at an inflated cost and by violating tender norms.

An offence of cheating, connivance and wilful fraud on the state was registered against Nisar Khatri of FA Enterprises, former executive director with the Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation (KIDC) Girish Babar, former chief engineer of irrigation department Babasaheb Patil, former superintending engineer Satish Wadgave, former executive engineer of water supplies Jayant Kasar, and former chief engineer of the Tapi water supply project Haridas Tonpe.

The ACB also conducted search operations at Wadgave’s Kothrud residence and Kasar’s Erandwane home in Pune till late night.

According to the complaint, Khatri and the irrigation officials connived by fabricating documents and filled ghost tenders, made payments and ensured that the contract was awarded to the firm. This is the second offence registered against Khatri at Kopri police station—he was earlier booked in the Balganga dam scam.

Monday’s FIR charged Babar and Patil as accused in both the cases, as well as Khatri’s family members, who are partners in FA Enterprises. Wadgave is presently attached with the Maharashtra Engineering Research Institute in Nashik, the rest are retired.

The ACB said that the officials connected with the project knew that the contractor had filed fabricated documents and should not have been allowed to bid. About 25 % of the work has been completed and Rs 108 already paid to the contractor.

The ACB had earlier carried out an open inquiry and filed the offence against FA Enterprises and the officials in the alleged irregularities in the Balganga dam project in 2015. But in that case, all the accused are out as the chargesheet was not filed within the stipulated timeframe. Following TOI’s report, the C M ordered an inquiry. An ACB officer said they are likely to file the nearly 25,000-page chargesheet in court this week.