ACB clarifies as reports of clean chit for Ajit Pawar goes viral

Order on closure of open enquiries a routine one, it says

Updated - November 28, 2021 11:05 am IST

Published - November 25, 2019 10:51 pm IST - Mumbai

The ACB said that enquiries can be restarted if the situation demanded.

The ACB said that enquiries can be restarted if the situation demanded.

With Maharashtra still reeling from Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar’s sudden volte face last week and joining hands with the BJP to form the government, another twist was added to the plot on Monday in the form of an order issued by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB).

The order, signed by ACB Additional Director General Bipin Kumar Singh, directs the agency to close open enquiries into nine applications received regarding tenders that were issued when Mr. Pawar was the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

 

ACB officials said the order was a routine one, and did not in any way affect investigations into the ₹70,000-crore irrigation scam, that is being probed by the agency.

“We have received thousands of applications regarding a wide number of tenders that were issued in the concerned time period and the order only pertains to nine such applications, into which we had started open enquiries last year. The same order also states that the enquiries can be restarted if the situation demands,” an ACB officer said.

Progress report

Meanwhile, reports of Mr Pawar being given a clean chit just two days after being sworn in started going viral. The ACB, however, said they had to file a progress report before the Bombay High Court by Monday and that the timing had nothing to do with the current political developments.

 

The ACB, in a statement clarified its position on reports of alleged corruption cases against Mr. Pawar being closed.

Ajay Aphale, Additional Superintendent of Police (headquarters) ACB, Maharashtra, through a statement, said the agency had begun enquiring into a total of 2,654 tenders of 45 projects of the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC), as per the two Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petitions filed in 2012 in the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court.

The statement said that so far open enquiries have been completed in 212 tenders. Of these, FIRs have been registered in 24 cases and chargesheets filed in 5 cases. Open enquiry into 45 tenders have been closed as no offence was disclosed during enquiry. Departmental enquiries against the concerned officials have been recommended in 28 enquiries for administrative lapses.

The order of closure of nine enquiries dated November 25 is from the 45 enquiries closed and these were received from ACB units for closure between the last two to five months. These nine enquiries were closed as no criminal offence was made out after enquiry against anyone.

None of these nine enquiries is in respect to Mr. Pawar, the then chairman of VIDC. All the 24 FIRs filed are presently under investigation and none of them have been closed. Open enquiries into various projects/tenders of VIDC are under progress.

The next date of hearing of PILs in this matter is on November 28.

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