|Court finds prima facie evidence, asks state govt to submit all files relating to purchases|
|Sanjay Jog / Mumbai Nov 02, 2012, 19:25 IST|
Hearing a public interest litigation, a division bench observed on Thursday that the irregularities happened during 2006 to 2009 when Nationalist Congress Party leader Vijaykumar Gavit was the minister.It’s scam season in Maharashtra. After a series of irregularities – first in the irrigation sector, then in toll recovery and construction of the Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi, the Bombay high Court has found prima facie evidence of a Rs 6,000 crore “corruption” in purchases of materials relating to tribal development schemes.
The purchases under scanner were made to curb malnutrition, distribution of cows and buffaloes, supply of diesel engine and pipes etc. The petitioner, Bahiram Popatrao Motiram, a tribal from Nashik district, has pleaded for constitution of a special investigation team into the multi-crore scam. The state government is the lead respondent besides seven others.
The court also directed the state government to immediately submit to the Registrar Genaral the necessary files pertaining to various purchases made by the tribal development department and its undertakings. The court rejected the government’s plea for giving time to copy those files.
The petitioner alleged that the tribal development department, on the last day of March 2006, procured liquid protein without following the procurement procedure and without floating tenders. On top of that, liquid protein bottles were not distributed though the amount was disbursed.
Further, the department sanctioned and disbursed Rs 6.30 crore on March 31, 2006 for the supply of mats to the Ashram School students. The petitioner charged that the record has been created by authorities for the supply of mats. Against the price of Rs 200-300 in the open market per mat, a rate of Rs 1,930 per mat was quoted.
Besides, there has been alleged corruption in the distribution of cows and buffaloes to tribals and many other cases, including fraud in the supply of diesel engines to farmers in 2007-08 and 2008-09.
The court observations come at a time when Gavit is busy fighting the civic elections in his home district. Gavit, who took out time from campaigning, told Business Standard “There is no corruption. The purchases are sanctioned by a committee comprising seven or more IAS officers. The Central Bureau of Investigation has inquired into the case and closed it.”
Gavit’s successor and current tribal development minister Babanrao Pachpute said he has convened a meeting on Saturday with
senior officials comprising state chief secretary, law secretary and tribal development secretary to prepare future course of
action. He also ruled out corruption.