Accusations becaue I tried breaking contractors lobby: Munde

Accusations becaue I tried breaking contractors lobby: Munde

Accused of involvement in a 'scam' for clearing purchases worth Rs 206 crore without inviting tenders, Maharashtra Minister Pankaja Munde today shot back, claiming her efforts to break the hold of contractors' lobby on the Women and Child Development (WCD Department had provoked such accusations.

She also demanded that those who have made the allegations come up with proof to substantiate the charges.

"Where is the proof?" she asked, and claimed no procedures were overlooked by the department.

"There is a big, huge lobby of contractors in this department. I think, for years they have been running this department. And somewhere I am breaking that. I am doing strict inspection, I am doing strict categorisation of these activities and that is why somewhere this is happening and that is what I am very very clear about," the Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister claimed.

"What they are talking is vague. They are saying all Rs 206 crores I am spending is all scam. I am not here to do scam, I am here to help those kids. I am here to prove myself," Munde told a TV channel from London.

The minister said she respected the questions raised by the opposition and written replies have already been given.

"I am not here to contaminate or favour someone or give someone some contract, I am here to deliver for those kids," Munde said, emphasising that she worked and cared for children even before becoming a minister.

Maharashtra Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant had earlier this week submitted a complaint to the Anti-Corruption Bureau alleging violations in purchases made by WCD department. Munde was alleged to have cleared purchases worth Rs 206 crore on a single day in February through 24 Government Resolutions instead of inviting tenders.

All government purchases in Maharashtra above Rs three lakh are mandated to be made after inviting e-tenders. 

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, however, said no irregularities had been "prima facie" committee by Munde and funds granted by the Centre under Integrated Child Development Services were about to expire in March. Moreover, the practice of e-tendering was introduceD by his government in April this year.

A host of items, including snacks, books, mats, dishes and water filters were purchased for various institutions across the state under ICDS.

Munde also denied allegations related to irregularities in procurement of water filters by her ministry.

"Water filters....am I not supposed to give clean water to anganwadis?" she said.
Referring to an incident related to contamination of 'chikkis' (peanut candies) meant for children, she said," This one little incident happened does not mean the whole lot is contaminated, the whole thing is going against children's health. I will never ever bear that, if it happens, they will be banned also and there will be strict action."

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