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US DOLLAR SCAM ROCKS BMC

An audit report has said the civic administration MCGM has used fraudulent means for making illegal payments to an international consultant. Compiled by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) chief auditor PS Pisolkar, the audit note has objected to the proposed payments to an international consultant, Forward Engineering Corporation Ltd, as consultancy charges for the modernisation of the Deonar abattoir. The contractor was allotted a consultancy contract worth Rs5.99 crore in July last year of which, 43% of the payment has been made and work is being carried out at the site, the civic administration had proposed an additional payment worth Rs57.38 lakh. Arguing in favour of the contract, the administration stated that the payments were being made due to the changes in the foreign exchange rates.The administration has said that the American dollar, which cost Rs39.30 in November 2007, had cost as much as Rs51 last year, resulting in losses suffered by the contractor. However, the audit inquiry said an illegal payment was being made. The auditor pointed out that the terms and conditions mentioned in the original contract did not refer to payment of difference owing to revision in the foreign exchange rate and had suggested that consultancy charges would be in Indian currency, fixed at the time of entering into the contract, and paid only to the contractor. The auditor dubbed the practice as illegal and immoral and termed it as an undue favour being made to the consultant.

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