Even as it is yet to overcome trouble over minister Vinod Tawde’s alleged fake degree, another big crisis hit the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra on Wednesday after the Opposition alleged a scam by women and child development minister Pankaja Munde.
Pankaja, daughter of late Gopinath Munde, is accused by the Congress-led opposition of a Rs 206 crore scam in purchase of food items and other materials for government-run schools for tribal children.
Munde cleared 24 contracts worth Rs. 206 crore for purchase of several items such as chikki, mats, books, dishes and water filters.
Allegedly flouting all rules, she cleared the purchase through 24 Government Resolutions (GR) in a single day.
Maharashtra government rules mandate e-tendering of all purchases over Rs. 3 lakhs, but the rule was overlooked in the case.
Munde – currently on a trip to the US – denied any wrong doing and said that government rules were followed in the purchases.
“Have not broken any rules as far as I am concerned, I am here to do best for women and children. Sensationalizing anything without proper info can also destroy people’s trust in the system,” she said.
The alleged scam came to light after complaints were raised about the quality of chikki distributed to tribal students. The chikki was allegedly procured from an NGO which was earlier blacklisted by the government.
While Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is yet to speak on the matter, the Congress was quick to launch an offensive against the government. The party has approached the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) seeking a probe in the matter.
“24 contracts have been sanctioned without following due procedure. We have registered our complaint with ACB. We have told them that the entire process needs to be probed,” said Congress leader Sachin Sawant.
Congress spokesperson in Delhi Ajay Maken said, “24 Govt resolutions were passed and contracts were sanctioned in 24 hours without following the tendering procedure in Maharashtra. We demand judicial inquiry led by sitting HC judge, into this matter.”
Training his guns on Devendra Fadnavis, Maken said the CM can’t escape his responsibility as everything happened under his nose, concerned minister (Pankaja Munde) should also be removed.