Chandigarh, September 25
Finding lapses on the part of the then Chief Accounts Officer (CAO), Law Officer (LO) and Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) among others, the Municipal Corporation (MC) has ordered that they should be chargesheeted “for major penalties”. Besides, the previous (2017-2019) parking agency, Arya Toll Infra Limited, should be blacklisted and acted against legally over the alleged non-payment of licence fee, shorter period of bank guarantee and cheque-bounce issues.
Cheques for Rs 1.50 crore bounced
In February 2019, the MC had scrapped the agreement with the Mumbai-based firm, which was running 25 paid parking lots and a multilevel parking in the city, after three cheques for Rs 1.50 crore (Rs 50 lakh each) issued by the firm against instalments allegedly bounced.
“…file has been extremely casually dealt with, despite having such huge financial implications…neither have recovery proceedings being initiated, despite the fact there was no stay on recovery…bank guarantee was accepted for a shorter period…” said the order copy accessed by Chandigarh Tribune.
Talking of the roles of the three officers, the order says, “…neither has the LO guided/opined properly…neither has the SDO nor the CAO done their duties as ordered by the then MC Additional Commissioner. Therefore, a list be drawn up of all such persons responsible for this gross negligence and put up along with chargesheets for major penalties.”
Pashchatya firm case no different
The city MC faced similar issues with Pashchatya Entertainment Private Limited, which was awarded the tender for 57 parking lots in 2020 that expired on January 23, 2023. The MC had issued chargesheets to its six officials under major penalty clauses and also wrote to the UT Administration to take action against former Joint Commissioner SK Jain in the matter of short recovery of stamp duty from the parking contractors. Also, on a complaint filed by the civic body, the police had booked the directors of the company. The prime accused, Anil Kumar Sharma, and six others, including Sanjay Sharma, Anil’s accountant Ajay Kumar and a bank employee, were arrested.
In February 2019, the MC had scrapped the agreement with the Mumbai-based agency, which was running 25 paid parking lots and a multi-level parking in the city, after three cheques for Rs 1.50 crore (Rs 50 lakh each) issued by the firm against instalments allegedly bounced.
It was stated in the MC order issued at that time that the contractor had failed to deposit the full amount of the seventh instalment of the licence fee, amounting to Rs 3,69,50,000, which was due on December 2018. The contractor issued three cheques for Rs 50 lakh each, but these were dishonoured by banks citing insufficient funds as reason.
“Blacklisting of the firm was not done though a show-cause notice was issued. Bank guarantee was accepted for 12 months and again for 12 months, whereas it should be for 66 months as mentioned in the terms and conditions of the agreement, and further the same was allowed to expire," said the latest inquiry report.
The MC order, which was issued on the basis of the inquiry, further says, "Blacklisting of the defaulting firm should be done immediately…check, and if found liable, initiate proceedings under Section 138 for dishonour of cheques. Also, write a demi-official letter to the SSP for FIR…recover the due amount."
At present, the MC is running all parking lots on its own.
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