Clean chit to Ajit Pawar in irrigation scam
During that period, Pawar as minister of irrigation and water resources department was the chairman of irrigation department. The state government can take action against officials by giving “soft and nominal punishment” the report said. “Rules and regulation were not properly formed and adopted and followed by the irrigation department while allotting tenders and giving an advance to contractors ( mobilisation of fund).”
While protecting Pawar, Sunil Tatkare, the present irrigation minister, said that the Opposition had blown the irrigation issue out of proportion. “Since 2009, the irrigation percentage has increased by 17% and 5.4% area has increased under irrigation. Out of 22 recommendations of Chitale committee, we have accepted 20 and rejected two. The rejected two recommendations were not viable and trifl e to accept,” Tatkare said.
According to the report, the revised cost of 100 irrigation projects reached to Rs68,656 crore due to various reasons. The reasons include rise in land cost, change in irrigation project’s architectural drawings, expansion of project areas and rehabilitation cost, change in contractor’s rate card etc.
Vinod Tawde, BJP leader, said officials and ministers had connived. “But the report asks the government to take action against officials and not ministers. Narco tests should be conducted on offi - cials and ministers... Pawar should take moral responsi- bility and resign immediately... the matter should be thoroughly investigated,” he said.
BJP MLA Devendra Fadnavis said the government tabled the distorted summary of the Chitale committee report to misguide people. “Rather than giving a copy of the report, the government distributed CDs, that too very late. Many MLAs and journalists did not get a copy of the report... The government deliberately tried to suppress our voice.”
Ajit Pawar leaves the Vidhan Bhavan on Saturday