Mohali MC’s out-of-court settlement with pvt company

Vigilance Dept initiates probe

MOHALI: A vigilance inquiry was marked in the matter of an out of court settlement between the Mohali Municipal Corporation and a private firm related to outstanding dues.

editorial@tribune.com

Akash Ghai

Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 18

A vigilance inquiry was marked in the matter of an out of court settlement between the Mohali Municipal Corporation and a private firm related to outstanding dues.

According to Mohali deputy Mayor Manjit Singh Sethi, who had brought the matter to the notice of higher authorities of the state government, the state vigilance department had initiated an inquiry in the matter. “I have been asked to record my statement in this connection by an SP-rank officer of the state Vigilance Department,” said Sethi.

It is to be noted that the civic body had allegedly benefited the company through the above said move and caused a loss of around Rs 12 lakh to the government exchequer.

Earlier, it was alleged that the MC had outsourced an advertisement-related work to a private company in 2012. Later, under breach of the contract, the civic body had asked for Rs 13 lakh in damages in 2014 and the amount reached around Rs 25 lakh in mid-2019. The company had also approached the local court and challenged the MC’s decision of imposing damages on it.

The company lost the case in the court in 2016 and the court had directed the firm to pay the amount with 18 per cent interest per annum. An appeal of the company was also rejected by the higher court, following which some immovable property of the company was attached in Panchkula and its bank account was also sealed. “Then all of sudden, the MC authorities filed a withdrawal application in the court and decided to go for an out of court settlement with the company without taking the MC House’s approval, which is necessary for any such settlement,” claimed Sethi.

Though, as per a senior official of the corporation, the company had deposited the amount of damages, an inquiry has been initiated to ascertain some facts including why the MC has opened a new bank account to deposit the company’s postdated cheque of Rs 10.12 lakh. “The existence of the cheque came into light only after I raised the issue and apprised the higher authorities of the fact,” alleged Sethi.

The case

The MC had outsourced an advertisement-related work to a private company in 2012. Later, due to breach of the contract, the civic body had asked for Rs 13 lakh in damages in 2014 and the amount reached around Rs 25 lakh in 2019. The company had also moved the court and challenged the MC’s decision. The company lost the case in the court in 2016 and the court had directed the firm to pay the amount with 18 per cent interest per annum. Later, the MC authorities filed a withdrawal application in the court and decided to go for an out-of-court settlement with the company without taking the MC House's approval.

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