The Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Monday said it has closed probe into alleged irregularities in nine irrigation projects in Maharashtra, adding none of these cases was linked to Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. The ACB's clarification came after opposition Congress claimed Ajit Pawar was "exonerated" in lieu of his support to the BJP in forming a government two days ago. "None of the cases pertaining to Ajit Pawar in the 2013 irrigation scam investigation have been closed," a senior ACB official told.
Earlier, reports suggested that Ajit Pawar was given a chit chit in nine project cases in the Rs 76,000-crore scam.
Highly placed sources in the Maharashtra ACB told news agency ANI that none of the cases belong to alleged irrigation corruption case against Ajit Pawar.
The ACB sources said the cases that were closed were conditional and these could reopen if more information comes to light or courts order further inquiry.
“We are investigating around 3000 tenders in irrigation related complaints. These are routine inquiries which are closed and all ongoing investigations are continuing as they were earlier,” ANI quoted Maharashtra ACB DG Parambir Singh as saying.
Soon after coming to power in 2014, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had given the go-ahead for a state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) inquiry into Ajit Pawar and other top NCP leaders.
Last year, the ACB had said as the minister of Water Resource Department (WRD), scams like the multi-crore Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation scam come under the responsibility of Ajit Pawar.
The Vidarbha Irrigation scam, pegged around Rs 76,000 crore, is related to alleged corruption and irregularities in approval and execution of various irrigation projects in Maharashtra during the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) rule.
Pawar was among the NCP ministers who were in-charge of the irrigation department at different times between 1999 and 2014 during the Congress-NCP coalition rule in Maharashtra.