Graft case: Fadnavis orders probe against Ajit Pawar

ACB will also investigate two other NCP leaders

Graft case: Fadnavis orders probe against Ajit Pawar

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has cleared the files for opening a probe by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) against three top Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders — Ajit Pawar, Sunil Tatkare and Chhagan Bhujbal.

Pawar, the nephew of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and a former deputy chief minister, and Tatkare, the state NCP president are being probed for their role in a multi-crore irrigation scam. Pawar is currently an MLA from Baramati while Tatkare is an MLC.

Bhujbal’s role as Public Works Department minister is being probed vis-à-vis irregularities during the construction of Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi and two other government buildings in Mumbai under PPP-model.

Bhujbal, a prominent OBC leader, is an MLA from Yeola. “The ACB proposal was with us. We had already approved it. It is only today that we have informed the court,” Fadnavis told reporters in Nagpur, where the winter session of the Maharashtra Assembly is underway. “There would be an impartial probe and law would take its own course,” he said. Fadnavis reaction came after the proceedings at the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on this issue.

“I have been authorised by Chief Minister of Maharashtra to state that he has cleared open inquiries by ACB against Ajit Pawar, Sunil Tatkare and Chhagan Bhujbal,” Advocate General Sunil Manohar told the court.

On August 23, the ACB had sought permission for a probe against them. It may be recalled that BJP MP Dr Kirit Somaiya, had from time to time, met ACB Director General Pravin Dixit and requested him to expedite the probe. “Let them probe…that is what they have said before the elections. It is their government, let them do what they feel is good,” Pawar said reacting to the development.

Tatkare also said he would cooperate with the investigation. He, however, shot back when asked whether the unconditional support to BJP was to prevent a probe, and said: “We had extended the support for stability in the state.” Pawar resigned as Deputy CM in September 2012 over allegations of irregularities in awarding of 38 irrigation contracts worth Rs 20,000 crore in Vidarbha region in 2009 without seeking the mandatory clearance from the governing council of the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation.

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