RAISING THE stakes in the police officer vs police officer sideshow of the alleged multi-crore irrigation scam, Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) DGP Param Bir Singh on Tuesday filed a second affidavit before the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, this time to say that though his predecessor had taken note of the government communication giving a clean chit to former Maharashtra irrigation minister Ajit Pawar, he had had not “dealt with it” in his affidavit.
Singh’s latest affidavit apparently admits to a “bonafide mistake” in his December 20 affidavit in the PIL hearing into the alleged scam, but effectively ends up further questioning the role of former ACB DGP Sanjay Barve, who is the present the Mumbai Police Commissioner.
Submitting an “unconditional apology” to the court, Singh said that in last week’s affidavit, he was wrong to have stated that Barve had not noticed a letter from the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) giving its former chairman Ajit Pawar a clean chit, as its contents had not been mentioned anywhere in Barve’s November 2018 affidavit filed before the Nagpur bench. Barve had said in his affidavit that Pawar was involved in awarding irrigation contracts.
After a “relook” at his predecessor’s affidavit, Singh said he has found that Barve had indeed seen the March 2018 VIDC response to the ACB’s queries, as evident from two paras in the affidavit in which he has discussed it contents, and that he stands corrected on this. But Singh then goes on to say that the former DGP ACB did not “deal” with the letter.
Singh’s latest affidavit corrects the line in his previous affidavit that had stated “however, unfortunately, it appears the same was not noticed by the Affaint, which fact becomes clear from the fact that neither it is mentioned nor contents of which are dealt with anywhere in the aforesaid (Barve’s) affidavit” to “however, unfortunately the Affiant has not dealt with the same anywhere in the aforesaid affidavit”.
The affidavits by Barve and Singh had presented a contrasting picture about the role of Pawar in the alleged irrigation scam in Vidarbha, with the former clearly mentioning how Pawar had intervened in the process of grant of work by tweaking rules of business, updating of project cost and release of mobilisation advance to contractors and the latter giving him a clean chit on all these counts citing the VIDC letter.
Singh, who has been eying the post of Mumbai Police commissioner since he was Thane Police commissioner, is seen as a contender for the post after Barve’s retirement.
Barve is currently on his second extension as Mumbai Police commissioner, which ends on February 29, 2020.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines