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Blog Entry# 3508838
Posted: Jun 09 (13:57)

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Jun 09 (13:56)   Secretly taped conversations reveal corruption in railway contracts

Jayashree ❖ Amita*^   41217 news posts
Entry# 3508838   News Entry# 340289         Tags   Past Edits
Conversations reveal contractors get their bills cleared after bribing officials.
The Western Railway is probing allegations of a nexus between contractors and supervisors at its Lower Parel workshop, after two audio recordings surfaced last week, in which a contractor can be heard striking deals with the supervisors to get his bills cleared.
The Western Railway sources said the recordings could be a part of a sting conducted by the contractor, who has released both sets of conversations. One conversation, in which a purported deal is fixed at Rs 1 lakh, was carried out
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over the phone, while the other conversation, wherein the contractor could be heard agreeing to pay an ‘instalment’ of Rs 20,000, took place inside a railway official’s cabin.
In both conservations, the contractor talks about works such as scrap clearing, installation of air-conditioners, and bogie repairs and cleaning.
In the phone conversation, the contractor repeatedly insists the railway official quote a “lumpsum amount” that needed to be paid (see recording transcripts), while in the other conversation, one of the men can be heard insisting on getting the “long-pending” dues.
The Lower Parel workshop, known as the carriage repair workshop, is spread over 14 hectares and undertakes periodic overhauling of coaches including the general class, sleeper class, AC three-tier, two-tier, and firstclass coaches. Wheels are also manufactured at this workshop, where an amount of Rs 100 crore is spent on an average annually.
Akhilesh Kumar, in-charge of the Lower Parel workshop, refused to identify the railway officials and the contractor being probed, but claimed the railway top brass had already acted against the officials. “Action has been initiated,” he said when Mirror pressed for further details. Meanwhile, the Western Railway’s chief public relations officer, Ravinder Bhakar, said the Vigilance Department was probing the recordings.
This is not the first time that the Western Railway’s workshops have come into focus over corruption. In January last year, the Central Bureau of Investigation arrested Dilip Khaire and Shakindra Lokhande, both senior section engineers at the EMU workshop in Mahalaxmi, for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 5 lakh through cheques. The case was registered following a complaint that the two men were seeking a bribe to favour the complainant in a departmental examination.
The deal
The phone recording
Rly officer: Hello?
Contractor: Hello haan sir, Tushant boltoy
Rly officer: Bol, bol
Contractor: What I’m saying is, like you had said yesterday, I have prepared the bill and will bring it. Theek hain?
Rly officer: Haan. Listen to me, listen to me, I’m again telling you, your bill, the verification note, make three copies of these, verification report and in-voice copy… covering letter can be one copy. Submit it, you submit it.
Contractor: OK, I’ll submit these from my end.
Rly officer: Only, it should be in the order that I have told you, there should not be a problem again.
Contractor: I’m also tense, things should move fast.
Rly officer: Hence I’m telling you, do this.
Contractor: Listen sir…
Rly officer: Bol na
Contractor: How much will it be? Please tell, I have to make a few adjustments.
Rly officer: We’ll discuss later.
Contractor: Because I’m making the arrangement immediately, and I can give you, that’s why I’m saying…
Rly officer: I’ll tell you, let’s meet and will I’ll tell you, not over the phone…
Contractor: Over the phone because somebody’s already coming over and I have to make the arrangement. I have to give the workers as well. I can give you also.
Rly officer: See, listen, 5% is going on right now…
Contractor: Ok.
Rly officer: And, on the basis of 5% we’ll settle it properly.
Contractor: But sir how much? What’s the estimation? Just say the lumpsum amount.
Rly officer: I’ll tell you later, let me come back to you.
Contractor: Sir my man is on the way. I’ll pay some, and once the bill is cleared, I’ll give the entire thing.
Rly officer: You now listen, earlier bill was 4.85…
Contractor: 4.77.
Rly officer: Count it as 5. So that’s Rs 25,000. And how much is for scrapping cleaning?
Contractor: Scrapping cleaning is 8 lakh.
Rly officer: So that’s Rs 40,000. The total is 65,000.
Contractor: Can you tell me a lumpsum amount?
Rly officer: Consider it somewhere close to 1.
Contractor: One lakh or thereabouts.
Rly officer: Haan.
Contractor: Theek hain.
Rly officer: So don’t get tense, we’ll handle everything.
Contractor: Sir I only rely on your support.
Rly officer: Of course, I have always supported you. No need to say that. Didn’t I help you in that last matter?
Contractor: Of course, sir.
Rly officer: Listen to me, you submit the bill fast. it’s the year-end time and bills are getting cleared.
The conversations pertained to work to be undertaken at the Lower Parel workshop
The office conversation
Contractor: May I come in, sir?
Rly officer: Yes.
Contractor: Actually sir, we have installed the air-conditioner.
Rly officer: Yes. What else?
Contractor: There’s this work on the under-frame.
Rly officer: There was some problem regarding tickets in the morning…
Contractor: No sir, it has been sorted out. I was talking about that under-frame paint, it has been done.
Rly officer: Done?
Contractor: Yes sir, done. And that bogie work, there’s no problem there, bogie shot blasting.
Rly officer: Work has begun, keep the finances in your hand.
Contractor: Sir, don’t have it, no. You see now I have submitted the bill, but they are saying there’s no budget.
Rly officer: On the basis of railway, if you go around totally zero, then nothing will work. You have to borrow money from the market, you have to pay the workers too, how will it work? People run away.
Contractor: That’s true, sir, I have given away chain, ring, everything.
Rly officer: You’ll get everything back, but if you don’t pay the labourers, they’ll run away and the process will break up. New people will be brought in but they won’t gel in the set-up.
Contractor: I have told them. See sir, labourers work on faith.
Rly officer: Who’s that other guy you have hired?
Contractor: Which other guy?
Rly officer: Some other guy.
Contractor: That boy who came in the morning?
Rly officer: Who, that bald guy?
Contractor: He’s his man, work is on.
Rly officer: The month-end is approaching, you are holding on to three cases.
Contractor: Have cleared those, sir.
Rly officer: Mine is pending.
Contractor: Sir, your work is pending, but the break beam thing is done. Thirty to 35 bogies are pending, will be done in two to three days.
Rly officer: We have been saying this, do it once the work is done.
Contractor: Please adjust, sir.
Rly officer: See, it’s about trust.
Contractor: What has happened is, my 40,000 are stuck. After two years, the guy is saying he’ll issue a cheque tomorrow. Once that gets cleared, I’ll pay.
Rly officer: Which means day after tomorrow. These days cheques are cleared the next day.
Contractor: No sir, only if the bank is the same. If banks are different it takes up to three days.
Rly officer: Fine, three days are OK.
Contractor: How much do I give? Don’t quote in percentage.
Rly officer: If your work is worth one lakh, then I get 3,000; if it is 3 lakh then I get 9,000, that’s straightforward.
Contractor: Sir, I’m a poor man.
Rly officer: Told you, it’s final.
Contractor: Sir, I’m poor…
Rly officer: No-one’s like that. Your three cases, I quoted three, give 2.5.
Contractor: I’m poor.
Rly officer: You want to become a businessman?
Contractor: Sir, with yours and the Almighty’s blessings, I will one day.
Rly officer: Don’t be so stingy.
Contractor: Please have a look at other cases.
Rly officer: There are two cases, one of 4.77 and other 4, so somewhere around 80,000. That will be 9 lakh.
Contractor: So, for 9 lakh, your dues are 27,000. You make it 20,000. Will pay once one bill is cleared.
Rly officer: No you get it done now.
Contractor: Please look after me.

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