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Central ministry official approaches police against contractor for forgery

An officer attached to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has lodged a complaint with the Belapur police against a Maharashtra-based road contractor for allegedly forging two letters with signs of the joint secretary and the superintendent engineer of the ministry.

A case was registered on August 30 based on the complaint by Anshumali Srivastava, chief engineer and regional officer for the National Highways Authority of India, who has an office at Konkan Bhavan in Belapur.

As per the complaint, the company — Patil Infrastructure — had got nine contracts worth around ₹3,000 crore for constructing road in the State, from the ministry through tendering. However, three of the projects worth around ₹790 crore had been pending for a few years, despite crossing the deadline for completion. In a review meeting conducted on June 16, it was decided that the contract given to Patil Infrastructure should be scrapped and a new work order should be issued to another firm after completing the tendering procedure. The review meeting was chaired by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari via videoconferencing.

On August 11, Sanjay Dashetwar, business development officer of Patil Infrastructure, sent two letters to Mr. Srivastava on WhatsApp. The first letter dated July 31, which was signed by Amitkumar Ghosh, joint secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, stated that a committee had been constituted to reconsider the decision of cancellation of the contract of Patil Infrastructure. The second letter, which was dated August 10, signed by superintendent engineer, director general (road development) Sanjay Garg, of the ministry, said that the committee was constituted under him and they were reconsidering the termination of the contract.

Mr. Srivastava who got suspicious sent the letters to the ministry’s department in Delhi which looks into the works of Maharashtra roads. By August 21, Mr. Srivastava received responses from both Mr. Garg as well as Mr. Ghosh denying to have issued any such letters. The officials also directed Mr. Srivastava to consider taking legal action in the case.

“We have registered the case as per the complaint received under sections of cheating and forgery, and we are investigating the case further. No arrests have been made yet,” senior police inspector Dinkar Mohite from Belapur police station said.

The case is registered against Mr. Dashetwar and the MD of Patil Infrastructure M.B. Patil.

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