The Bombay High Court will begin final hearing on a petition alleging supply of sub-standard chikki (snack) in schools run by the Maharashtra government from February 8.
Soon after the alleged scam came to light, the Maharashtra government formed a high-power committee to go into purchases of various commodities, including chikki, made by departments on ‘rate contract’ basis in the last 15 years.
A division bench of justices V M Kanade and Revati Mohite Dere said it will hear on February 8 and 9 the PIL filed by Sandeep Ahire and others seeking inquiry by a retired high court judge into the alleged Rs 206-crore chikki scam for which Women and Child Development Minister Pankaja Munde had come under fire.
The petition alleges that clay and mud particles were found in chikki supplied to students in state-run schools.
Advocate General Srihari Aney had earlier denied the allegation and said “no clay particles were found in the sample sent to a reputed government lab in Ghaziabad”.
The bench had earlier, in an interim order, restrained the Maharashtra government from distributing chikki to school students following complaints over its quality.
The high court on Tuesday said pending hearing of the petition the government should not make payments to the contractors who had supplied the chikki for free distribution to students of Anganwadis (primary schools in tribal areas).
The committee, set up in November 2015, consists of Chief Secretary (of government), Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) and Principal Secretary (Industries).
The panel would examine the purchases made by various departments, including chikki, on rate contract basis from 2001 to 2015.