Karnataka Anti-Corruption Bureau conducted a raid at the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) zone office in Bommanahalli on Thursday, which busted the garbage mafia exposing a colossal scam of Rs 550 crore.
After one and half years of investigation, the scam was unearthed due to the sedulous dedication showed by the solid waste management (SWM) officials led by joint commissioner Sarfaraz Khan, which revealed the unholy connection between the contractors and BBMP officials.
The mafia had raised fake bills towards 6,600 non-existent pourakarmika's (BBMP sweepers and cleaners) and Rs 384 crore discrepancy in the diversion of insurance and provident fund (PF) and other funds that were meant for the civic workers, reports TOI.
The raid was conducted after Sarfaraz Khan submitted a report on the rackets operations to the BBMP commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad, who took the matter to the ACB after getting the green signal from the urban development department in August 2017.
Khan said that it took him several months to unravel the nexus between garbage contractors and a few BBMP officials.
"I was deputed in Yelahanka zone as the zonal joint commissioner and was handling 11 wards. I used to be on the field every morning to check pourakarmika's attendance and noticed a variation in the numbers as claimed in the bills. The same exercise was conducted after I was elevated to BBMP's head office to look after the entire city's solid waste management," reports TOI.
After the BBMP made biometric attendance of the civic workers mandatory it became easy to investigate deeper into the scam. The contractors were asked to bring in their auto tippers and compactors and GPS systems were installed in them.
After these measures were taken Khan noticed irregularities in the funds like the employee's state insurance (ESI) and PF funds were not being deposited in the pourakarmika's accounts.
Suspicious over the aberrations, Khan obtained the ESI and PF details of the civic workers near his house. Over further inspection, he found out that the worker's details did not match with the BBMP database.
On further investigation, he found that a garbage contractor in RT Nagar carried multiple ATM cards and withdrew around Rs 7 lakh from different accounts but paid the workers only Rs 3,000-4,000 as against the mandated Rs 7,000 per month.
He also uncovered that the contractors were only deputing lesser workers on the ground than the given number in the bills, and deploying compactors once in two days and raising bills for all 30 days of the month, TOI reported.
Khan had also received several death threats due to his involvement in the case, the report stated. And after a long wait, the ACB was finally able to raid the zonal office on Thursday.