Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar on Tuesday cornered the Maharashtra government over large scale irregularities in the multi-crore purchase orders for supplies of personal care items for tribal students.
In a scathing attack, the former deputy chief minister exhibited samples of sub-standard soap cakes, toothpaste, and oil supplied to students in state’s tribal boarding schools. “There are brands that we haven’t even heard of. The products are of an inferior quality, but the government has purchased these at prices higher than the market prices for better quality goods,” Pawar said. “The manufacturing details are also missing on wrappers. They are bogus goods,” he added.
Tribal Development Minister Vishnu Sawra, who came under fire following Pawar’s offensive, announced later that the government would conduct a high-level probe. “Principal Secretary (Industries) will probe the matter. Stern action would be taken against all those responsible,” the minister said, while passing some of the blame on the previous Congress, NCP regime.
“I have only continued the process adopted by my predecessor,” Sawra said.
Pawar had targeted Sawra and the tribal development secretary in the matter. In a belligerent mood, Pawar also raised questions related to a 500-acre land allotted to textile giant Raymond in Vidarbha’s Amravati. He claimed that this land allotment and similar allotments to six other companies at concessional rates had cost the state exchequer Rs 100 crore. Industries Minister Subhash Desai, however, defended the allotments, claiming it would boost employment and investment.