Five-member committee indicts BJP MLA Vijaykumar Gavit, 50 govt officials in tribal fund scam

A public interest litigation (PIL) pending before the Bombay High Court had demanded a high-level inquiry into the alleged scam of Rs 6,000 crore.

Published: 06th May 2017 07:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th May 2017 07:34 PM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

MUMBAI: BJP MLA Dr Vijaykumar Gavit from Nandurbar in North Maharashtra has been indicted in a scam involving siphoning off funds of the tribal welfare department and corporations under the department between 2004 and 2009.

A public interest litigation (PIL) pending before the Bombay High Court had demanded a high-level inquiry into the alleged scam of Rs 6,000 crore, and action under the criminal procedure code against Gavit, who was then with the NCP and was tribal welfare minister in the erstwhile UPA government in the State.

As per the directives of the High Court, the State government had appointed a five-member committee under Justice (Retd.) MG Gaikwad on April 15, 2014. In its over 3,000 page report submitted to the Court recently, the committee is said to have indicted Vijaykumar Gavit along with at least 50 officials of the Maharashtra government.

The tribal welfare department under Gavit implemented welfare schemes in an inappropriate manner. Contractors, instead of State government or tribal welfare officers prepared several of the department’s schemes. This caused heavy losses to the State exchequer, the committee has found.

In several cases the tendering process was not followed, while in many others the selection of beneficiaries was not carried out with due diligence, the committee reported.

The petition pending before the High Court had also accused Babanrao Pachpute, former NCP State president and Gavit’s successor who is now with BJP, former minister of State Rajendra Gavit (Congress) and Vijaykumar Gavit’s brother Sharad Gavit.

However, no evidence has been found against the three, the committee said and has blamed Gavit for alleged irregularities in purchase, transportation, and supply of oil pumps for tribal farms.

The executive committee of the then tribal development corporation chaired by Gavit, has been indicted in contract allocations for transportation and fitting of oil pumps.

Meanwhile, the Congress has said that the State government had received this report about four months ago and questioned why no action has been taken against Vijaykumar Gavit. 

"The UP government had taken action against Gavit. He was removed from the post after the allegations were levelled against him, and the inquiry too had been ordered by the UPA. The BJP that had demanded Gavit's resignation back them now appears to be shielding him," said MPCC spokesperson Sachin Sawant.

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