Ajit Pawar under scanner: Maharashtra cancels tenders of irrigation projects worth Rs 6,000 cr

In a setback for former Maharashtra deputy CM Ajit Pawar, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday cancelled nearly 300 tenders of irrigation projects.

FP Staff August 30, 2016 15:47:27 IST
Ajit Pawar under scanner: Maharashtra cancels tenders of irrigation projects worth Rs 6,000 cr

In a setback for former NCP leader and former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday cancelled nearly 300 tenders of irrigation projects worth Rs 6,000 crore due to pending investigation by the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in the multi-crore irrigation scam.

It has been alleged that Ajit Pawar, who was Water Resources Minister between 1999 and 2009, had approved projects worth Rs 20,000 crore in 2009 by tweaking rules and without clearance of Governing Council of Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC).

Ajit Pawar under scanner Maharashtra cancels tenders of irrigation projects worth Rs 6000 cr

Former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. PTI

Reacting to this move by the Maharashtra government, NCP leader Nawab Malik questioned the timing of this move and told Times Now that the government was only interested in targeting Pawar. In response, Shiv Sena leader Manisha Kayande said, "We are concerned about the people of Maharashtra, not the people of NCP and Congress."

Malik also said that the allegations against Pawar were false. "Where is the outcome of the enquiry (against Ajit Pawar)?" he said.

The entire scam was brought to light back in 2012 when Vijay Pandhare, the then chief engineer in the water resources department, wrote letters to the Maharashtra chief minister and governor pointing out the irregularities and cost variation in irrigation projects.

Moreover, despite huge expenditure, it appeared that there was no significant rise in irrigated land in the state. The percentage of irrigation potential had increased by just 0.1 percent in past ten years, despite an expenditure of Rs 70,000 crores on such projects.

The furor had led to the resignation of Ajit Pawar.

Later on in 2012, the then Maharashtra government, led by Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan, had tabled a white paper on the issue in the Maharashtra Assembly, giving a clean chit to Pawar. After the clean chit, Pawar was brought back in the Maharashtra cabinet.

Both the NCP and Congress had to face a lot of flak for both the scam and the move to reinstate Pawar as Deputy CM.

After Devendra Fadnavis assumed power in Maharashtra in 2014, he had ordered ACB to conduct an enquiry into the alleged scam.

On 8 August this year, the ACB had filed a chargesheet against 10 people in connection with the Balganga irrigation scam, before a district court in Thane.

The ACB slapped various sections of IPC for cheating and fraud, besides the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 against the accused.

Even though the chargesheet had not named Pawar, it had sought further permission to investigate the deals which directly involved him.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date:

also read

Punjab political scenario up in the air after Amarinder Singh resigns
Politics

Punjab political scenario up in the air after Amarinder Singh resigns

The tussle for the state in 2022 will see a quadrangular contest between the Congress, the Shiromani Akali Dal, the BJP and the AAP

Uttar Pradesh govt should answer people's questions, says Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
India

Uttar Pradesh govt should answer people's questions, says Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

Priyanka said last week that people are going to change the government and the chief minister in the upcoming Assembly polls

‘He is totally disconnected from the ground’: BJP hits back at Rahul Gandhi over ‘fake Hindus’ remark
Politics

‘He is totally disconnected from the ground’: BJP hits back at Rahul Gandhi over ‘fake Hindus’ remark

Addressing the foundation day of the All India Mahila Congress, Gandhi said that the ideology of the Congress is completely opposite of the BJP-RSS and only one of the two ideologies can rule the country.