Maharashtra: ACB to probe 12 irrigation projects

The Chitale committee had in its report said Kondane and four other projects needed a separate probe.

Written by Ruhi Bhasin | Mumbai | Updated: January 30, 2015 12:57 am

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) will probe 12 of the 15 irrigation projects against which allegations had been raised in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by some leaders and activists of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The Bombay High Court was informed of this by the state government Thursday.

The 12 projects are at Kondhane, Chanrea, Balganga, Kalu, Shai, Susari, Gadnadi, Shill, Jamda, Shirshinge, Kal Kumbhe and Gadgadi.

Dr Sanjay Belsare, Superintending Engineer and Deputy Secretary, Water Resources, stated in his affidavit: “The government has decided to inquire into allegations made with reference to 12 projects out of the 15 projects mentioned by the petition by conducting an open inquiry through ACB.”

With reference to the remaining three projects, the affidavit said: “No administrative approval has been accorded in respect of Poshir and Shillar projects. In the case of Lendhi project, the work has not been allotted to contractors as alleged by the petitioners and the Lendhi project is also not included in the Chitale committee report.”

The Chitale committee, which probed the irrigation scam, had in its report said Kondane and four other projects were suspicious in nature and needed a separate probe.

Justices A S Oka and A K Menon were hearing a PIL by AAP leaders Mayank Gandhi and Anjali Damania, and activists Ajay Mathankar and Brian Lobo seeking an independent inquiry into the sanctioning of dam projects in Konkan division, citing irregularities in the sanction of the Kondhane dam project over Ulhas river.

During the last hearing, the state government had told the HC that it had decided to carry out an independent inquiry in the case of Kondhane and Chanera irrigation projects, and that no money would be released to contractors of projects in which irregularities had been found by the Chitale Committee.

“The government has already initiated departmental inquiry against erring officers in respect of the Kondhane project and has suspended four officers. Further, the government has initiated an inquiry through the vigilance unit under the water resources department in respect of Chanera project,” Belsare said.

The affidavit said the government had not given any revised administrative approval to the Kondhane project. “As the work on Kondhane project started in violation of administrative approval, the Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation was directed to rescind the contract. No payment shall be made to the contractor till the project is removed from the shelf with due approval of the Governor,”added Belsare.

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