BATTLING allegations of having distributed sub-standard “chikki”, the Maharashtra government has now set up a committee to inquire into the rate contracts awarded by various departments in the last 15 years.
If carried out, the inquiry will see all those rate contracts awarded during the tenure of the Congress government since 1999 until the BJP-led government came to power in 2014.
Abhinandan Vagyani, the government pleader, informed Justices V M Kanade and Revati Mohite Dere that the committee had been set up.
Rate contracts take into account the lowest prevailing rates for purchases commonly made by government departments, which include office stationery, steel furniture, computer furniture, polythene bags and bicycles.
The opposition had accused Women and Child Development Minister Pankaja Munde of irregularities in procurement of food products worth Rs 206 crore. These include chikki packets procured under the Integrated Child Development Scheme of the Central government. Munde has denied the allegations.
In addition, the government maintained before a bench headed by Justice Kanade that quality of the sweetmeat was fine. Before their latest decision, the government had issued a resolution on October 30, setting out a policy “Manual of Office Procedure for Purchase of Stores by Government Department”.
The development came about during the hearing of a public interest litigation demanding inquiry into the alleged scam. Sand, gravel and other granules were allegedly found in chikkis at some places, including Ahmednagar, and a letter dated June 6, 2015 had been sent to the minister concerned, the PIL claimed.