Towing agency hired at insistence of CM’s ex-secy: Nirupam

Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam today alleged that the agency awarded the contract to tow vehicles has been hired at the insistence of a former secretary to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

However, rubbishing Nirupam’s claims, a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office said neither the CMO nor Pravin Darade (CM’s former secretary) have anything to do with the towing contract awarded to Vidarbha Infotech Pvt Ltd.

Darade, an IAS officer, is currently the commissioner of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).

“Vidarbha Infotech is connected to the CM’s office and one particular individual by the name of Pravin Darade. In this entire nexus, it is Darade, who is close to the CM and is instrumental in using his influence and allotting projects out of turn to Vidarbha Infotech,” Nirupam told reporters here.

He alleged that the agency was hired at the insistence of Darade.

The Congress leader said the company is a software firm and has no experience in towing vehicles.

“Vidarbha Infotech has no expertise in towing. Nine lakh registered four wheelers and 17 lakh bikers in the city are being harassed by traffic police and being made to pay higher towing fine and a bulk of that money is going to Vidarbha Infotech,” he said.

“It was announced that the tender was open only for the firms whose turnover exceeded Rs 50 crore, putting 1,000-1,200 youngsters from smaller agencies, which are regularly hired otherwise, out of jobs,” the Congress leader said.

Claiming that Darade is the chief promoter of the firm, Nirupam demanded an inquiry into the awarding of contract to the agency.

Nirupam also alleged that Vidarbha Infotech’s control room is set up on a 1,000 sq ft land which has been allotted to them free of cost for reasons unknown.

However, countering Nirupam’s claims, the CMO stated that the allegations against it and Darade were baseless.

“The process of awarding contract was done at the level of traffic police. For this, KPMG was appointed as a consultant. This agency suggested the use of ultra modern hydraulic cranes for towing operations and based on this suggestion, traffic police called for tenders,” the statement said.

It added that the Maharashtra Towing Association and other contractors have moved the high court over this contract and the government had also called for a report from Mumbai police.

The report is with the government and will be placed before the high court, the statement said.

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