Tawde in soup over Rs 191-cr contract scam

In a fresh trouble for the BJP-Shiv Sena saffron alliance government in Maharashtra, Education Minister Vinod Tawde landed in trouble for irregularities in award of Rs 191 crore contract without inviting tenders.

The allegations against Tawde, 51, a key minister in the government led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, comes close on the charges that he had acquired a engineering degree from the Pune-based Dnyaneshwar Vidyapeeth  which is not recognised by UGC or AICTE or Maharashtra’s Directorate of Technical Education.

“Not a single rupee has been paid to contractors. We stopped the order immediately after the Finance department raised objections....the issue was put on hold at our behest,” Tawde told in his defence.

On February 11, the Education department issued a government resolution authorising the office of the Education Director (Primary Education) to enter into a rate contract for supply of 62,105 fire extinguishers for zilla parishad schools across the state. Each fire extinguisher was to be procured at a price of Rs 8,321 and each school was to be provided three pieces.

Meanwhile, Mumbai Congress chief and former MP Sanjay Nirupam demanded Tawde’s resignation.   “They wanted to procure fire extinguishers without following the rules, this is another scam...now they are on fire,” Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said.

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