Maharashtra Legislative Council Chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar Monday directed the state government to conduct a probe by Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) into the allegations of corruption raised by the Opposition parties in Jalyukt Shivar scheme.
The issue was raised by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator Hemant Takle claiming that agriculture commissioner has given a report stating that the inquiry into the corruption in the Jalyukt Shivar works in Purandar tehsil in Pune should not be given to the ACB. “Has any elected representative or a Minister of State for Water Conservation given a letter to the Agriculture Commissioner asking not to refer the inquiry to ACB?” asked Takle.
Another NCP legislator Vidya Chavan asked whether the minister along with officials blocked the ACB inquiry to ensure that the corruption to the tune of Rs 200 crore should not come to the light.
Tanaji Sawant, Minister for Water Conservation, said the departmental inquiry was ordered before the ACB sought permission to conduct the probe. “So, the permission was not given to ACB,” said Sawant.
Not convinced with his reply, Nimbalkar said that the minister can overrule the department and order the probe. “I direct that ACB probe should be conducted in the matter,” said the Chairman. Then, Sawant replied in affirmative.
Last week, Chavan had the issue of irregularities in Jalayukt Shivar works through a starred question. Sawant, in a written reply, had said, “after getting a complaint about irregularities in Purandar tehsil in Pune district, the ACB conducted a discreet inquiry into it and found substance in the complaint.”
The minister further said that ACB had asked us permission to conduct an open inquiry but it was not given as the departmental probe was on in the matter.
“The department’s inquiry is a technical inquiry. Such inquiries are being conducted in around 1300 works and we have received reports of only four works. The decision of whether to give permission to ACB will be taken after receiving the reports,” Sawant had said while replying to the Opposition parties demand for ACB probe in the irregularities in all 1300 works.
The Jalayukt Shivar is the flagship project of the BJP led government in Maharashtra and the project involves deepening and widening of streams, construction of cement and earthen check dams, work on nullahs with others.