Serious irregularities have come to light regarding the purchase of the official vehicle of the State Legislative Assembly speaker Dilip Walse-Patil. Documents accessed by Newsline under the Right to Information (RTI) Act show that the vehicle was purchased by the Secretariat of the State Legislature by flouting norms for purchase of vehicles.
The issue came to the attention of the Auditor General (AG) of Maharashtra, who had passed strictures against the move.
An inspection report by the AG had said the vehicle (an eight-seater Toyota Innova) was purchased flouting norms laid down by the state government.
An MLA from the Ambegaon assembly constitutency of Pune, Walse-Patil has been the speaker of the lower house of the state assembly since 2009. A senior NCP leader, Walse-Patil is considered close to party president Sharad Pawar.
As per a Government Resolution (GR) issued by the finance department of the state government, new vehicles for the usage of cabinet ministers and chairman of the Legislative Assembly should be within the price limit of Rs 9 lakh. The purchase procedure states that purchases over Rs 5,00000 should be made by calling tenders.
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Scrutiny of purchase orders during the inspection by the AG showed that the vehicle was purchased for Rs 12 lakh. Also, the process of calling for tenders was also not followed by the department.
The AG noticed that the ex post facto sanction of the excess Rs 3 lakh was also not taken Taking strong exception to the purchase, the AG’s report has termed the purchase as irregular and asked for an explanation in the matter.
In reply to the AG, the department stated that proper purchase procedures would be followed in future. Walse-Patil was unavailable for comment. An email questionnaire sent to his office remained unanswered.