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Maharashtra irrigation scam: Whistleblower alleges BJP govt shielding Pawars, contractors

Pandhere, who contested the Lok Sabha elections on an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ticket in 2014, made use of the 19-month-old Madhav Chitale committee report to launch an offensive.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | January 15, 2016 4:14:46 am

Maharashtra’s irrigation scam whistle blower Vijay Pandhare on Thursday alleged that the BJP government had shielded contractors and politicians involved in the multi-crore irrigation scam.

Pandhere, who contested the Lok Sabha elections on an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ticket in 2014, made use of the 19-month-old Madhav Chitale committee report to launch an offensive.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP had previously levelled scam allegations in big-ticket irrigation contracts to make a foray into Maharashtra’s political scene. Pandhare joining the partyfold had boosted the party in the state at that time.

Allegations that the party had levelled against NCP ministers Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare, both former ministers, had stuck eventually forcing the previous government to constitute the Madhav Chitale committee. With elections to the Mumbai municipal corporation just a year away, the party appears to have fallen back on its old gameplan with the target this time being the CM and the BJP.

Kejriwal had earlier dropped plans to contest Assembly polls in Maharashtra, arguing that he wanted to concentrate on Delhi and that the party was yet to establish roots in the state. Various AAP committees in Mumbai were even dissolved. The party has, however, renewed its interest for contesting seats in the Mumbai civic polls, sensing that the BJP’s popularity was on the wane.

“I’ve no doubt in my mind that the Fadnavis government is pushing the multi-crore scam under the carpet to shield errant contractors affiliated to the BJP and ‘Baramatikars’ (read Ajit Pawar, Pawar clan),” Pandhere claimed at a press meet here on Thursday.

“How else can you justify the reluctance of the government in ordering a probe in serious irregularities, including misuse of tender norms, issuance of illegal mobilisation advances, entries in the tender registration book, escalation of cost estimates, among others. The Chitale committee had listed these as annexures with the report and had advised that the government must commission a detailed investigation on these,” Pandhere said.

“The Maharashtra government accepted the report, but is now dragging feet on this recommendation,” he added.

AAP’s Meenal Jain said that during the Assembly elections campaign, Fadnavis, who was then the state BJP chief, had announced that those behind the irrigation scam will soon go to jail if the BJP came to power. But this clearly has not been the case.

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