New Delhi: The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in Maharashtra on Monday officially shut the Vidharba Irrigation Scam case and dropped all charges against NCP leader Ajit Pawar, two days after his swearing-in ceremony as the deputy to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
In what is rumoured to be a closed-door deal between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar, the development comes after Ajit Pawar defied his uncle Sharad Pawar and coalesced with the BJP to form government in Maharashtra.
A list of cases of the Maharashtra ACB has been virally circulated on social media platforms by members of opposing parties in which none of the cases belonging to the alleged irrigation corruption scam name Ajit Pawar.
Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi took Twitter to ‘expose’ the power-play and said, “Cases closed, corruption charges dropped, shamelessness to be in power exposed.”
However, ACB officials claimed that the cases closed today were on a conditional basis and they could reopen if more information comes to light or courts order further inquiry.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Director General of ACB Parambir Singh said, “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.”
“None of the cases that were closed today are related to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar,” Singh further claimed.
The multi-crore Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation scam relates to corruption and irregularities in a Rs 70,000 crore deal for the approval and execution of irrigation projects in Maharashtra during the Congress and NCP rule from 1999 to 2014.
Notably, it was Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who, shortly after coming into power in 2014, consented to the ACB enquiry into Ajit Pawar and several other top NCP leaders. Ajit Pawar, who was in charge of the irrigation department during the former Congress-NCP rule, was held as key accountable under the multi-crore Vidarbha Irrigation scam.