MUMBAI: When Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis defended Women & Children Development Minister Pankaja Munde’s decision to make purchases worth `206 crore on one day on the basis of the rate contract system instead of e-tendering, he apparently forgot his own criticism of the system as one that is “beneficial only to contractors”.
Express has obtained a copy of then Opposition MLA Fadnavis’ April 1, 2013 speech. “There is a problem in Maharashtra. There are many schemes for the tribals and Dalits. Unfortunately, all these schemes have become contractors’ schemes. The contractors are fixed. I can even reveal their names. They prepare rate contracts of the material which is lying idle in their godowns. They supply the material through the consumer federation or other media but its quality is substandard. However, its price is three times more than the market price. I request you with folded hands. Please show some favour to the tribals,” he had said in the Assembly.
However, in the wake of the scam, Fadnavis justified the rate contract system. “The previous governments too had made purchases of crores of rupees using this system,” he said.
The Chief Minister wasn’t available for comment as he was on his way to a week-long tour of the US. Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said the discrepancy underscored the difference between the BJP’s preaching and practice. Sawant said he would submit to the Anti Corruption Bureau the evidence of malpractice in the purchases.
“The Chief Minister had sought evidence. We are giving it to the ACB so that it can seek permission for an open inquiry,” he said.
Meanwhile, another company, which bagged a contract to supply water purifiers and filters, has been found to be not existing.