MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is currently in the US to help boost foreign direct investment in his home state, on Tuesday had to step in to help out his Cabinet colleagues, who were embroiled in controversies. And the CM formed a firewall committee comprising two senior Cabinet members, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil, to protect the ministers in distress.
Earlier, Fadnavis was meeting a top official from soft drinks giant Coca Cola in New York when he came to know that Mungantiwar had stopped a contract of the Education Department pertaining to the purchase of fire extinguishers. The Finance Department had a query regarding the process of the contract.
The matter relates to the Education Department issuing a Government Resolution authorising the office of the Education Director (Primary) to enter into a contract for supply of 62,105 fire extinguishers for Zilla Parishad schools across the state on February 11 without inviting tenders.
Each fire extinguisher was to be procured at a price of Rs 8,321 and each school was to be provided three pieces.
Education Minister Vinod Tawde immediately clarified that the Finance Department’s query was a routine administrative procedure. “The Finance Department always asks queries. They give their nod for the purchase only if they are satisfied.
I have closed the file and stopped the contract process after the query. I also have initiated an inquiry to check whether any rules were flouted. Not a single paisa has been paid to the contractor,” Tawde said.
Fadnavis ensured that Mungantiwar and Patil accompanied Tawde when he met reporters to clarifiy his stand on the issue . Both of them certified that Tawde had not done anything wrong or out of the way.
Patil announced that Mungantiwar will henceforth be the state government’s official spokesperson. “Now, he (Mungantiwar) will face the media after the Cabinet meetings in place of the CM,” Patil said.
Meanwhile, Women and Children’s Development Minister Pankaja Munde, who stands accused of dubiously clearing 24 contracts in one day, returned to the city late on Monday night. Around 100 supporters greeted her at the airport and shouted slogans in her support. The Congress has submitted “evidence” against Pankaja in the Rs 206- crore purchase, which is being probed by the state Anti Corruption Bureau.
SENA LEADER WANTS MINS TO STEP DOWN
Mumbai: Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant on Tuesday suggested that the tainted Ministers step down. “When such an incident had happened during Balasaheb’s time, he asked his minister to resign and face an inquiry. He had told the minister that he would be reinstated if he comes clean in the inquiry,” Sawant said.