Maharashtra NCP seeks ACB probe into irregularities in allocating funds for minority-dominated areas

Mumbai: The NCP on Thursday demanded an ACB probe into alleged irregularities in funds sanctioned for development work in minority-dominated pockets of rural Maharashtra.

NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said on 31 March, 2017, the minorities development department, headed by senior BJP minister Vinod Tawde, had issued orders sanctioning grants for development works worth Rs 6.32 crore in the minority-dominated pockets.

"But official papers now reveal that 26 projects among these were given grants without any administrative or technical sanction," he said and also demanded the resignation of Tawde.

Malik added that irregular works, spread across nine districts, were worth over Rs two crore.

The former NCP minister demanded a probe by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) into the alleged irregularities.

Tawde, who handles nearly half a dozen ministries, made light of Malik's allegations and said they should not be taken seriously.

"Tawde handles departments that have an overall budget of Rs 30,000 crore. A desk officer has given in writing that Tawde's OSD had received money (for releasing funds). Clearly, a racket has been going on and it needs to be properly investigated by the ACB," Malik said.

"The government is trying to brush this scam under the carpet. Tawde must immediately resign for a fair probe to take place," he said.

Maharashtra minister Vinod Tawde at a recent academic event. Twitter @tawdevinod

Maharashtra minister Vinod Tawde at a recent academic event. Twitter @tawdevinod

Shashikant Salunkhe, a desk officer working in the minorities welfare department, was suspended in June after the alleged irregularities came to light.

Reportedly, the irregularities first came to light on 24 April, when Tawde received complaints from some MLAs in this regard.

The department revoked the order for the 26 works five days later and issued a show-cause notice to Salunkhe.

Reacting to Malik's allegations, Tawde said the NCP leader should not be taken seriously as he has made "absurd" claims in the past too.

"The principal secretary (of the department) had sought an explanation from the desk officer but he could not give a satisfactory reply. He made the allegations (against Tawde's OSD) to save himself," Tawde claimed.

If the desk officer proves his claims, action will be taken against errant persons, the minister said.


Updated Date: Sep 29, 2017 08:44 AM

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