Irrigation scam: Water dept view could decide Ajit Pawar’s fate
What role did former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar play in commissioning and granting approvals for the Balganga dam project in Raigad that has cost the state exchequer a loss of Rs1,105 crore? And did the former minister’s decisions follow the rules?
These are the key questions before the anti-corruption bureau (ACB), in its probe against Pawar in the Balganga dam. Pawar was the water resources minister when the project was cleared.
The investigators have now asked the state’s water resources department to clarify its rules of business, specifically the way in which the files were routed. The water resources department’s reply could decide the action to be taken against Pawar.
The ACB charge sheet accessed by HT tells a sordid story of how public money has been swindled in the construction of the dam. But while it nails contractors and officials, it has stopped short of linking the irregularities to Pawar.
“Before making charges against such a big man, we have to be clear that they will stand legal scrutiny. We wrote a letter on July 27 to the water resources department seeking its opinion on government rules, to probe if the policy decisions taken by Pawar were in line with existing norms and his powers or can be construed as misuse of position,’’ said an investigator associated with the case.
Depending on the reply, the ACB will probe further and file supplementary charges. The specific areas where Pawar’s role is being probed include updating tender cost by 40% and granting a Rs25 crore mobilisation advance to the contractor.