Mumbai The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police has been entrusted the task of probing the ₹7.23 crore alleged fraud perpetuated by replacing powerful engines of coastal patrolling boats with old and poor engines.
Three maintenance contractors are accused of perpetuating the fraud in connivance with some government officials by removing powerful engines of the coastal policing boats and replacing them with old, faulty engines. Some of the boats were later handed over to these private companies for carrying out repair and maintenance work.
Sunil Ramanand, additional director general (Information Technology and Transport) Maharashtra Police had last month registered an FIR at the Chatushringi police station in Pune from where the case was first transferred to the Sewri police station in Mumbai. Now, EOW will probe the case.
The FIR (of which HT has a copy) names Ratnakar Dandekar, managing director of Aquarius Shipyard Pvt. Ltd. and its other unidentified officials and staff, concerned officials and staff of Goa Shipyard Pvt Ltd and that of Brilliant Seagull Pvt Ltd and unidentified government officials.
No arrests have been made in the case yet.
Twenty-eight patrolling boats, manufactured by Goa Shipyard Pvt Ltd, were provided by the Centre for strengthening Mumbai’s coastal security after the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack in which Pakistani terrorists reached the city by sea route and killed 168 people. Twenty-nine more such boats were procured by the state government in 2011-12 for coastal security and patrolling.
In August 2018, a new maintenance contractor informed the government that during previous maintenance contracts, engines were changed on the boats. Following this, the state government on January 1, 2021, ordered an inquiry by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
Additional director general, the ACB conducted the enquiry and submitted the report on March 30, 2021. Based on the findings of the ACB inquiry, the government directed and recommended Maharashtra DGP to take further legal action.
DGP on February 16, 2022, directed ADG (IT and Transport) to file a criminal case against the culprits and also to file a case in civil court to recover the losses caused by the alleged fraud.
According to the police complaint, from 2014 to 2019 the contract for maintenance and repairing of 29 patrolling boats was given to Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) which had sub-contracted the work of 16 boats to Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd and 13 boats to Brilliant Seagull Pvt Ltd.
It added that Dandekar’s ASPL was not efficient to carry out maintenance and repairing work of boats between 2018-19. Despite this, it obtained the extension of the work order for engine maintenance and overhauling of the boats from Goa Shipyard Pvt Ltd.
The FIR further added that the contractors removed the original, powerful engines of the patrolling boats and fitted old and weak engines and charged the government for installing new engines and bills for the same charged as per the cost of new engines for wrongful gains, the complaint states.
“In all on total 12 boats old and used imported engines/engines bulk/powerhead assembly were knowingly fitted and received payment as per the cost of the market rate of new engines from the government and defrauded them,” states the FIR.
Dandekar’s firm used the manpower of Brilliant Seagull Pvt Ltd to get the old and weak engines installed as new ones. The police complaint states that Brilliant Seagull Pvt Ltd had raised an objection with Dandekar over supply of old engines for the boats, however despite this Dandekar made the firm install old and weak engines on the boats, states the FIR.
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