Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday reportedly gave his assent for the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to conduct an inquiry into the irrigation scam, which could mean trouble for NCP leaders Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare.
However, the former deputy chief minister said that he wasn’t affected by the government’s decision to probe the scandal.
Fadnavis also gave a nod to a probe against Chaggan Bhujbal over allegations of corruption in the building of Maharashtra Sadan case, in which kickbacks to the tune of Rs 5,000 crores were alleged to have been paid during the construction of Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi.
“Let the inquiry be completed. We are happy they are conducting an inquiry,” NCP leader Nawab Malik told Times Now. “This is all a mischievous propaganda. We have done nothing wrong.”
Fadnavis had earlier claimed that that the Chitale committee, which had probed the irrigation scam, had submitted a report which substantiated the charge that the percentage of irrigation potential increased by just 0.1 percent in past ten years, despite an expenditure of Rs 70,000 crores on such projects.
According to Fadnavis, the report says that even though official figures claim that the state had achieved an irrigation potential of 2.43 lakh hectare, in actuality 2.31 lakh hectare is of no use for irrigation purposes.
A special investigation team (SIT), headed by water resources expert Madhav Chitale submitted the report on the multi-crore irrigation scam to former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan in March this year.
The Chitale committee was appointed by the state government in December 2012 in the light of public outrage over rampant corruption in irrigation projects.
It was alleged that former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, who was Water Resources Minister between 1999 and 2009, had approved 38 projects worth Rs 20,000 crore in 2009 by tweaking rules and without clearance of Governing Council of Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC). Despite huge expenditure, it appeared that there was no significant rise in irrigated land in the state.
A white paper on the issue that was tabled in the Maharashtra Assembly had given a clean chit to Pawar.