MUMBAI:The long arm of the law following the investigation into the Rs 526 crore scam in Maharashtra government-run Annabhau Sathe Backward Development Corporation (ASBDC) are likely to extend all the way up to the doors of senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar.
The BJP-led Devendra Fadnavis Government has ordered an inquiry into why Ajit--who was the then state Finance Minister-- had showered favours on ASBDC and gave it an out-of-turn grant of Rs 600 crore during 2012-14. Of the Rs 600 crore, Rs 526 crore had allegedly been siphoned off.
Express had reported last month that the Crime Investigation Department (CID) investigation report, had indicted NCP legislator Ramesh Kadam for siphoning off the government’s money. Kadam stands accused of splurging the money on property and luxury cars for the NCP workers and leaders by forging papers.
“We are investigating why the government went out of its way to provide so much funds to the Corporation. We will not spare anyone who will be found to be involved in the scam,” Minister of State for Social Welfare Dileep Kamble told Express. ASBDC is currently under Kamble.
On whether Ajit was under the scanner for his role, Kamble said, “Everyone, who was associated with the procedure for sanctioning funds to the Corporation, is under the lens.”
According to a senior government official, it was Ajit, who took the decision to sanction the huge funds for ASBDC. “Normally, a decision on sanctioning of funds is taken by a subcommittee. In this case, it has been revealed that Ajit had taken the decision alone,” he said.
The former Deputy Chief Minister is facing charges of graft in the state’s infamous irrigation scam in which the cost of several irrigation projects were escalated by several hundred crore. The scam in ASBDC could well be the only case in which there is strong documentary evidence against him. Ajit was Minister of Water Resources for almost a decade.