Maharashtra Govt's White Paper on irrigation scam to give clean chit to Ajit Pawar
The Maharashtra Government is likely to give a clean chit to former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar in connection with the over Rs.70,000 crore state irrigation scam.
According to media reports, the state government is expected to say through a White Paper that Pawar, a prominent leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, was not involved in the irrigation scam.
The White Paper will in effect give a clean chit to Pawar and the Water Resources Department, which has been in the eye of the storm ever since the scam was exposed.
It will reportedly justify all the costs incurred and cost escalations in irrigation projects in Maharashtra during Pawar's tenure as state irrigation minister.
An IBNLive report states that the Water Resources Ministry has countered charges of corruption in irrigation projects by listing project-wise reasons for cost overruns and delays.
The white paper will state that the irrigation potential in Maharashtra has increased by 28 percent in the last decade, reports Free Press Journal, countering claims made by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Opposition leader Eknath Khadse that the rise of irrigation potential was just 0.01 percent despite an expenditure of Rs 70,000 crores.
According to Economic Times, the white paper claims that cost escalation in each project has been approved by the Central Water Commission and the Planning Commission, and the escalation is much lower when compared with projects in other states.
The paper reportedly blames delays in land acquisition and rehabilitation for the cost escalation of irrigation projects.
Pawar's return to the state cabinet may, however, be delayed.