MUMBAI: The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has issued summons to senior NCP leaders and former ministers Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare in connection with alleged irregularities in awarding contracts for irrigation projects which led to cost escalation.
Confirming the move, state Director General, ACB, Praveen Dixit today said, "Yes, we have asked both of them to report to the ACB's office."
While Tatkare has been asked to report on September 15, Ajit, nephew of party chief Sharad Pawar, the next day (September 16), Dixit said.
The agency had sent a questionnaire to Ajit in June on alleged irregularities in irrigation projects while stating that he could be asked to be present himself before ACB for inquiry at appropriate time.
Ajit and Tatkare, currently state unit president of NCP, are under scanner for allegedly awarding tenders to contractors by flouting norms which resulted in massive cost escalation for Kondhane, Kalu and Balganga irrigation projects in Konkan region during their stints as Water Resources ministers in the Congress-led Democratic Front government.
Incumbent Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in his capacity as opposition member earlier had written to then CM Prithviraj Chavan seeking a high-level probe into alleged multi-crore scams in Water Resources department.
After coming to power last year, Fadnavis cleared permission to launch an open inquiry against Ajit and some Irrigation ministry officials.
ACB had already registered a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act and sections of IPC against ex-minister and senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, his son Pankaj, nephew Samir, and some senior engineers of PWD for their alleged involvement in the Maharashtra Sadan scam.
The scam pertains to allegedly awarding sub-contracts to firms floated or controlled by the members of the Bhujbal family, for construction of the building at the cost of Rs 100 crore in New Delhi when Congress-NCP coalition was in power in Maharashtra.
Aam Aadmi Party leader and anti-corruption activist Anjali Damania had also claimed to have exposed corruption in the irrigation projects through RTI and filed a case with ACB.
The ACB had arrested five persons in connection with alleged irregularities of Rs 93 crore in execution of a dam project on Balganga river in adjoining Raigad district, after booking 11 persons in this regard.