Alleging corruption in the fire department and all-round inefficiency of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the Republican Party of India (Athawale) on Monday launched a veiled attack against Shiv Sena, one of its partners in the saffron alliance.
In a hurriedly organised press conference, national vice president of the party PK Jain, a former additional director general of police, alleged deliberate inaction by BMC civic body over an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) report of 2012, which is said to have found six civic officials guilty of malpractices in the purchase of fire safety belts.
"The report, which was sent to BMC in October 2012, clearly gave names of six officials, accusing them of corruption and purchasing poor quality fire suits and other equipment, which subsequently led to death of a fireman and injured 20 others. But BMC didn't take any action against the tainted officials. A reminder in January 2013 also fell on deaf ears," Jain alleged.
He, however, didn't name the officials. Jain also alleged gross irregularities and criminal misuse of power in granting NOC to a building, Dani Sadan, located next to Raj Bhavan in Malabar Hill. The party also blamed BMC for increasing potholes and dilapidated civic school buildings in eastern suburbs.
Jain later led a delegation of party activists to BMC commissioner Sitaram Kunte and submitted a memorandum seeking "time-bound action" on demands. The party also wants BMC to provide civic amenities to people living in the slums of Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
The party's assertion ahead of assembly polls is believed to be a last-ditch effort to pitch itself for the election, raising issues concerning Mumbaikars, and is also seen as an arm-twisting tactic to take more seats from Sena quota.