THE ANTI-CORRUPTION Bureau (ACB) has given a clean chit to Maharashtra Women and Child Development Minister Pankaja Munde in a case pertaining to alleged irregularities in awarding contracts worth Rs 206 crore for procurement of chikki and other items for tribal children in anganwadis.
The ACB was probing a complaint in this regard by Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant on June 24 last year. Additional Commissioner of Police, Keshav Patil, in a letter to Sawant earlier this month, informed the Congress leader that no truth was found in the complaint against Munde.
An officer from the ACB said, “During the course of the enquiry, we found that no rules had been flouted. To the extent of the complaint that we were asked to probe, no irregularities had been found. Hence, the complainant was informed about it and the case was closed.”
Munde said the ACB report and the clean chit have proven that all allegations against her and her department were totally baseless.
“The previous Congress-NCP government had purchased similar items at a cost of Rs 408 crore. Nobody questioned that, but our procurement was termed a ‘scam’. Purchase of chikki and other material was done as per norms and there was nothing wrong in making the purchase as per the rate contract system. Following the report of ACB, it is now proven that all the allegations by opposition were false and baseless,” she said.
While lodging the complaint, Sawant had submitted documents, which he claimed would prove Munde’s culpability in the alleged irregularities. He has now demanded that all the documents pertaining to the investigation be made public. “I had lodged a complaint on June 24, 2015 and submitted relevant documents on June 30, 2015. However, it was only in July this year that I received a letter from ACB informing me about the action taken by them. The BJP government is weakening the ACB and using it for political purpose,” he said on Wednesday.
Sawant said that it took a year for ACB officials to seek an opinion from Munde’s department about the case.
“I had lodged a complaint against Munde and her department and they asked for their opinion. It is like asking thieves what they think about the theft they committed. After July 2016, this is the second letter to me from ACB where they informed me that nothing was found against her in the case,” he said.