Maha: Nod for FIRs in irrigation scam pending with WRD

Irrigation project (Image for representation)

The ACB's seven proposals for filing FIRs against senior government officials in connection with an alleged multi-crore irrigation scam in Maharashtra are lying pending with principal secretary of the state water resources department (WRD), an official has said.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) needs the approval of the water resources department's principal secretary for filing FIR against officials of the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The scam, pegged at around Rs 70,000 crore, relates to alleged corruption and irregularities in approval and execution of various irrigation projects in Maharashtra during the previous Congress-NCP rule.

"The proposals for filing FIRs are pending with the water resources department's principal secretary since August last year. Hence, FIRs in seven contracts allotted by VIDC has not yet been registered," Superintendent of Police, ACB Nagpur, Rashmi Nandedkar told reporters here on Saturday.

Asked whether NCP leader and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar's role was found in the cases under investigation, the official said, "His involvement is not yet found in any case so far."

The ACB, Nagpur, is conducting an inquiry into 302 contracts allotted by the VIDC for 17 irrigation projects.

The anti-graft agency earlier lodged 20 FIRs against senior officials of the VIDC and contractors in connection with a scam into the Gosikhurd project, which falls under the VIDC and is one of the major irrigation projects in Godavari basin in the state's Bhandara district on the Wainganga river.

Pawar was among the NCP ministers who were in charge of the irrigation department at different times between 1999 and 2014 during the Congress-NCP coalition rule in the state.

During an inquiry into the Gosikhurd scam, the ACB found major irregularities and lapses in the tender process as well as the involvement of then engineers, divisional accounts officers of the department, contractors and their partners, a police official earlier said.

The cost of the tenders was illegally inflated by the government officials to favour specific contractors and their partners, he said.

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