The Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court today that it would take nine weeks to decide whether toll should be collected on the Mumbai-Pune Express Highway. The government said it was waiting for a report from the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). A division bench of Justices AS Oka and Riyaz Chagla was hearing the PILs filed by four activists who sought the revocation of rights of the contractor, Mhaiskar Infrastructure Private Limited, to collect toll on the expressway.
The petitions stated that the contractor already recovered the cost of the project as per its agreement with the state authorities but still continues to collect toll. The petitions stated that the practice was "wrongful gain". According to the pleas, the contractor has recovered Rs 2,869 crore that it was entitled to and was now making wrongful gains by continuing to collect toll.
In March 2017, the petitioners complained to the ACB to initiate action against public servants, involved individually and collectively, for failing to revoke the contractor's right to collect toll even after the completion of contracted toll income, resulting in wrongful pecuniary gain to it. When the ACB did not take any action, the activists petitioned the high court in April 2017.
Last July, the state government had informed the high court that the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) had initiated a discreet inquiry into the allegations.
The government's statement came after the court directed the ACB to produce files pertaining to the inquiry earlier this month and also sought to know from the government and MSRDC if it has taken any decision on whether or not toll should continue to be collected on the expressway. Government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani today submitted the inquiry files in a sealed report.
"The MSRDC's remark on whether or not toll should be collected is expected in three weeks. The government, after receiving the remark, would take a final decision in six weeks thereafter," Vagyani said.
The bench posted the petitions for further hearing on July 2.
(With PTI inputs)