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Irrigation scam: HC seeks govt. reply on CBI probe

A view of the Bombay High Court in Mumbai.

A view of the Bombay High Court in Mumbai.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

NGO wants case to be moved from ACB

The Bombay High Court on Monday sought a response from the State government on a plea demanding probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged multi-crore Vidarbha irrigation scam.

The petitioners, Atul Jagtap and NGO Janmanch, filed an application last week before the Nagpur Bench of the HC, seeking transfer of probe in the scam from the state Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) to the CBI. The ACB, in its affidavit submitted to the high court last month, gave a clean chit to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar, who was then chairman of the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC).

A Bench of Justices Z.A. Haq and M.G. Giratkar on Monday asked the State government to file its affidavit in response to the application by January 15.

Mr. Pawar, the NCP MLA from Baramati in Pune district, was water resources minister during 1999-2009 when the Congress-NCP combine was in power in Maharashtra. He had also served as chairman of VIDC, which cleared the irrigation projects in which irregularities were alleged.

The scam, pegged at around ₹70,000 crore, pertains to alleged corruption, cost escalations and irregularities in approval and execution of various irrigation projects during the Congress-NCP rule.

The allegations against Mr. Pawar included claims that he awarded projects at inflated prices. Last month, he had rebelled against his party and joined hands with the BJP to form a short-lived government in the State.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 4:43:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/irrigation-scam-hc-seeks-govt-reply-on-cbi-probe/article30326350.ece

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