Despite the Maharashtra government yet to make any significant progress into its inquiry in the irrigation scam, former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar is all set to make a comeback, said sources on Thursday.
Mr. Pawar, who resigned from his post in late September this year, is to be re-inducted into the Maharashtra Cabinet at a swearing-in ceremony scheduled to take place at the Raj Bhavan at 9.30 a.m. on Friday, said sources.
Mr. Pawar had dramatically quit his post after allegations of irregularities surfaced in sections of the media of his granting project approvals totaling Rs 20,000 crore during an eight-month period without the mandatory clearance of the governing council of Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) during his stint as State Water Resources Minister between 1999 and 2009.
At the time, he had vowed to return to the Cabinet with a fresh mandate only when his name was cleared in the scam.
His proposed reinstatement comes exactly a week after the controversial ‘White Paper’ on Irrigation, was tabled in the State Cabinet. The Paper, mired in purposeless detail, has no address of the inordinate corruption ailing State irrigation projects, while holding numerous ‘technical’ factors as being responsible for the inflated cost overruns in the projects.
Incidentally, the rumour of a comeback was suggested by Mr. Pawar himself when he spoke on the sidelines of a function in Navi Mumbai today evening.