Did the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) give a clean chit to irrigation scam accused Ajit Pawar? The answer is no. Earlier in the day, social media was abuzz about an ACB note which indicated that the Deputy Chief Minister has been given clean chit in 9 cases. Republic TV spoke to the Maharashtra ACB chief to get more clarity on what is the truth. This is where it stands – no clean chit has been given to Ajit Pawar in the multi-crore scam. ACB has closed the investigation into 9 open inquiries which were pending with the headquarters for over two months now.
“It is absolutely untrue to say that the probe has been shut. We are looking at 3,000 tenders. The investigation continues,” said Maharashtra ACB DG Parambir Singh to Republic TV. The open inquiries were being conducted after complaints were received by the agency beyond the main case that was registered. “These are routine cases that have been shut. The political ones remain open,” added another top source in ACB. The agency is going through 3,000 tenders that were sanctioned by Ajit Pawar and his party colleague Sunil Tatkare. This note that has been widely circulated on social media, was meant to be submitted before the High Court. “We need to inform the court about the progress we have made in the investigation. The SPs are studying all the cases. In these cases, we have found nothing against Ajit Pawar,” added the source. The other projects remain under investigation and Ajit Pawar's role in them will be examined, the sources said.
The nine cases that have been closed are related to irrigation projects in Washim, Yavatmal, Amravati, and Buldhana of the Vidarbha region. The irrigation scam dates back to the time Ajit Pawar was the irrigation minister of Maharashtra in a Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government. Ajit Pawar was alleged to be the kingpin of the irregularities in projects awarded by his ministry. It was alleged that Ajit Pawar awarded projects at inflated rates. "It's not right to comment on cases that are sub-judice," said BJP's Raosaheb Danve. BJP in the past has targeted Ajit Pawar over allegations of corruption. In fact, one of the first actions taken by Fadnavis after becoming Chief Minister was to sanction an investigation into Ajit Pawar's alleged role in the irrigation scam.