News Karnataka
Saturday, December 03 2022
India

Ajit Pawar again emerges shining clean in irrigation scam

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Nagpur: The Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau has filed a fresh affidavit in the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur Bench, giving a “clean chit” to senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar in alleged scams concerning a dozen irrigation projects under the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC), officials said here on Friday.

The affidavit, filed by Director General, ACB, Parambir Singh on Thursday, states that on Ajit Pawar’s role in the issue, “no criminal liability is disclosed during the course of inquiry/investigations by the Special Investigation Team”.

An earlier affidavit, submitted to the same court on November 27, had also ruled out the Nationalist Congress Party leader’s involvement in any of the cases of alleged irregularities in sanctioning and executing the VIDC projects, into the total alleged Rs 70,000 crore scam.

That affidavit was filed hours after the 80-hour government of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar collapsed – raising eyebrows in political circles, as Pawar, the NCP legislator from Baramati, was Chairman of VIDC at the relevant period, and Minister for Water Resources Development from 1999-2009.

Amid political furore, the ACB sought to clear the air by saying that it is probing a total of 2,654 tenders pertaining to 45 VIDC projects, as per two public interest litigations filed in 2012 before the Nagpur bench of the high court.

Of these, the open probe was completed in 212 tenders, First Information Reports filed in 24 cases and charge sheets in another five cases.

The open enquiry was shut in 45 tenders as no criminal offences were found in the past five months, and 28 matters recommended for departmental enquiries for administrative lapses by officials.

The nine files closed on November 25 – when Ajit Pawar was part of the 80-hour long two-man government – concerned big and small VIDC projects in Washim, Yavatmal, Amravati and Buldhana, and clubbed with others, were collectively referred to as the sensational Rs 70,000 crore irrigation scam.

In its status report submitted to the HC vide the November 27 affidavit, the ACB made it clear that the probe continues and in some cases, charge sheets have been filed and FIRs lodged.

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