The ambiguity surrounding a white paper on the ‘irrigation scam’ was finally lifted, with the Maharashtra government committing to the Bombay High Court that the paper would be tabled in three weeks.
The so-called irrigation scam came into limelight, after Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan expressed his concerns over the expenses incurred in the project and toyed with the idea of a white paper. However, Chavan began to dither, after NCP leader Ajit Pawar resigned on moral grounds, as Ajit was mostly in charge of the ministry in the past 10 years. A week after Ajit’s resignation in the last week of September, Chavan suggested a status report in lieu of the white paper, with respect to projects in the Vidarbha region. The climbdown, according to sources, was due to the compulsion of alliance politics, as ally NCP did not want to get embarrassed further.
As a cloud of doubt hung over the status of the white paper, a PIL was filed by Pravin Wategaonkar seeking CBI probe into the alleged irregularities of the Water Resources Department.