Accusing chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for crony capitalism, Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam on Friday said that there is towing corruption in Mumbai.
A company named Vidarbha Infotech, which has allegedly a relative of Pravin Darade, secretary of Chief Minister Devendra Fdnavis, has been favoured in awarding a contract of towing. However, the chief minister officer (CMO) denied the allegations and said that a contract of towing the vehicles was given by the traffic police. The CMO does not have any role in it. Currently, the matter is pending before the Bombay High Court. Following up on recent increase in towing incidents in the city, Nirupam said that it raised questions over the contract being awarded to Vidarbha Infotech which has no expertise in towing. Addressing a press conference at Mumbai Congress Office, he said that nine lakh four wheelers and 17 lakh bikers in the city of Mumbai are being harassed by traffic police and being made to pay higher towing fine, and bulk of that money is going to Vidarbha Infotech.
Mumbai Congress chief also alleged that Vidarbha Infotech is connected to the CM’s office and one particular individual that is Pravin Darade. “It cannot be a mere coincidence that ever since Devendra Fadnavis became the Chief Minister, Vidarbha Infotech has been getting one contract after the next – whether they have the expertise or not. In this entire nexus, it is Pravin Darade, who is close to the CM and is instrumental in using his influence and allotting projects out of turn to Vidarbha Infotech,” Nirupam added.
According to Nirupam, Vidarbha Infotech Pvt Ltd, which has been hired to tow cars, is a software firm and has no expertise in towing. It was announced that the tender was open only for the firms whose turnover exceeded Rs.50 Crore, putting 1000-1200 youngsters from smaller agencies which are regularly hired otherwise, out of jobs. Also, Vidarbha Infotech’s control room is set up on a 1000 sq ft land which has been allotted to them free of cost for reasons unknown. He also alleged that to give more profit to the company, the fine has also been increased from Rs 150 to Rs 660. On towing of each vehicle, the company is being given Rs 400.
Meanwhile, Absolute India spoke to Pravin Darade, who has refuted the allegations, said,”I don’t have any role in it. That contract was awarded by joint commissioner of police (traffic).” A spokesperson of CMO said,”After awarding the contract to Vidarbha Infotech, the Maharashtra Towing Association filed a petition in the Bombay High Court. The state government sought a report on it from Mumbai Police Commissioner. The matter is sub-judice before the court. The government will present its side before the court.”