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    Published On : Fri, Aug 24th, 2018

    HC seeks tender details in LED bulb procurement scam

    Nagpur : The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court, hearing petitions in the alleged fraud by Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) in procurement of LED bulbs for street lights, directed the NMC to furnish details about the tender published by the company concerned, and scheduled the next hearing on August 27.

    On the basis of information collected through the RTI Act, senior corporator Sandeep Sahare had exposed the scam by NMC in the procurement of LED bulbs. Later on, taking suo moto cognizance of newspaper reports on the scam and admitting a public interest litigation filed by petitioner Abhyan Barahate, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court comprising Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Murlidhar Giratkar sought details about the tender floated by the company concerned for procurement of LED bulbs.

    On this, the NMC informed the court that the tender was available online and it had to be downloaded to make its hard copy. The court therefore fixed the next hearing on August 27. During the hearing, advocate Shashibhushan Wahane appeared on behalf of the petitioner, advocate Gupta appeared as Adalat Mitr, advocate C S Kaptan appeared for NMC while advocate M G Bhangde represented the company concerned.

    HC accepts additional affidavit
    During the hearing on Thursday, petitioner Abhiyan Barahate submitted an additional affidavit claiming that misleading information was furnished by the opponent to the court. On this, advocate Bhangde objected to submission of any document at this point of time without prior permission of the court.

    However, the HC reminded that it was a public interest litigation and hence allowed the petitioner to submit the affidavit after depositing Rs 1,000 with the High Court Bar Association.

    Rs 100 crore fraud by NMC
    It has been alleged that the NMC procured 1.38 lakh LED bulbs for street lights at 80% higher cost than the market rates, thus committing corruption to the tunes of Rs 100 crore. As per newspaper reports and the PIL filed in the HC, a 100 watt LED flood-light bulb costs Rs 3,400 in the open market.

    However, the NMC decided to procure each bulb at Rs 9,900 each. A proposal in this regard was presented in the standing committee meeting of the NMC and it was passed despite the objections raised by few members.

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