MUMBAI: In an attempt to brush off the allegations of corruption in killing of rats in the state administrative headquarters (Mantralaya), Maharashtra finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar on Saturday said that the figures of pills were misinterpreted as rats killed.
“This is a clear case of misinterpretation of figures. To kill rats in Mantralaya order was placed for some 3.19 lakh pills. That doesn’t mean those many number of rats were killed. I pity those who misrepresented the figures to imply that those many rats were killed,” Mungantiwar, who was on a visit to Shirdi on Saturday, has said.
“Each of those pills costs somewhere between Rs 1 and Rs 1.5. Hence, the entire case was just about Rs 4.5 lakhs,” he added.
“It is erroneous to think that each pill should kill one rat,” the finance minister said.
Former Maharashtra revenue minister, Eknath Khadse, had made a startling claim on Thursday that a survey found that there were 3,19,400 rats in Mantralaya and the agency that was awarded the task to kill the rats within six months did so just within a span of seven days.
Mungantiwar was replying to queries regarding the allegations. However, he didn’t take Khadse’s name while replying to his allegations.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Khadse’s allegations were based on RTI documents obtained by BJP MLA Charan Waghmare. These documents do state that 3,19,400 rats were found in Mantralaya. The documents also show that the PWD cleared the payment to the contractor with a remark that the work had been completed satisfactorily.
Waghmare had written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, alleging a scam in the contract.
“As per the work order dated May 9, 2016, the officers in Mantralaya have shown killing of 3,19,400 rats in two months. There is no record of which poison was used, who collected dead rats and where were they dumped documents show two contracts have been signed, each worth Rs 2. 40 lakh, with an agency named Vinayak Majoor Sahakari Sanstha, at the rate of Rs 1. 50 per rat,” Wahgmare’s letter written to CM Fadnavis had said.
“I was assured that an inquiry would be initiated in the case. However, it has not been initiated as yet,” Waghmare told the New Indian Express.
Waghmare had also written to the CM regarding alleged scam in the proposal for reconstruction of the MLA hostel in Mumbai a couple of months back.