A day after Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed to probe corruption in irrigation projects was not formed to act against the guilty,the BJP on Thursday accused him of undermining the authority of the judiciary as well as the Advocate General (AG).
State BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said,The Chief Minister by rejecting the provisions to allow the SIT headed by Madhav Chitale to probe corruption in the irrigation sector has undermined the authority of Advocate General Darius Khambata.
Chavan overruling the AGs directives,which were submitted in the Bombay HC,shows political arrogance as well as coalition compulsions. How can he say that their concerns are merely fact-finding and corrective measures and not punish the guilty? This has exposed how shallow the government is, he added.
Fadnavis said,I had written to the Chitale committee thrice in the past,seeking to widen the scope of investigations and allow individuals to make submissions related to corruption in irrigation projects. A PIL regarding the panel was dismissed by the Bombay High Court after the AG submitted an undertaking that government would ask Chitale to probe corruption charges. Chavan has repeatedly backtracked from his stated position,thus betraying the trust of the people of Maharashtra, Fadnavis said. What is more demeaning is the high-handedness in overriding the promise made to court and Governor K Sankaranarayanan, he added.
So far,the BJP has trained its guns against the Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and water resources minister Sunil Tatkare for the alleged Rs 70,000-crore irrigation scam. Now,the party is directing its ire towards Chavan.
Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Eknath Khadse said,Chavan had repeatedly assured us that the Chitale committee would investigate irregularities in the irrigation scam under the Commission of Inquiry Act,and that the guilty would be identified and punished. However,he has gone back on his word.
We pursued the matter and sought assurance in the Assembly and the Council that corrupt be booked. Now,Chavan says punishing the guilty was not on their agenda, Khadse said.
Leader of the Opposition in the Council Vinod Tawde said,I received a letter from the AG,in which he had asked the chief secretary to direct the panel to allow opposition leaders and individuals to submit documents related to the scam. However,repeated pleas to the panel have gone unheeded. Chitale informed me that he has not received any directives from the state government and cannot accept any documents related to irrigation projects.
Tawde said,Chavans flip-flop on probe exposes political pressure. We want to know if he is buckling under pressure from Congress central leadership or NCP. We dont expect any outcome from the panel. It is just an eyewash.