THE agriculture department has suspended two more officers in connection with the multi-crore scam of the Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan in Parli constituency of Beed district.
The two suspended officers include a taluka agriculture officer in Parli taluka and a deputy agriculture officer from Ambejogai taluka.
Agriculture desk officer Arjun Landge said, “We had carried out an investigation by the vigilance squad in the alleged scam. These two officers held additional charges during the time when the scam happened. And therefore they have been suspended.”
Landge said agriculture officials from Mumbai have suspended at least six officers while the rest — around 26 — have been suspended by the joint director of agriculture, Aurangabad. “Agriculture officials from Mumbai suspended around six officers. They are either Class I or Class II officers. The rest who have been suspended are Class III officers,” he said.
Congress leader Vasant Munde, who has been pursuing the scam and had brought it to the state government’s attention, said, “So far, FIRs against 138 contractors and labour societies have been filed besides 24 agriculture officers. A probe has been completed against around 29 more contractors and labour societies. Similarly, probe has been completed against another six officers but so far no action has been taken. I have once again brought this to the notice of the state government.”
The action against the two agriculture officers is the first one after the state government decided to launch a probe into the implementation of the Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan, a pet project of the then Devendra Fadnavis government.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray decided to order an open inquiry into the project following a CAG report, which pointed to irregularities and lack of transparency in the project carried out between 2014 and 2019. Earlier this month, the state government constituted a four-member committee to investigate alleged irregularities in the Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan.
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