Modi had once said ‘Khaunga Nahi, Khane bhi nahi dunga!’ which meant that he will not get corrupt and neither will he allow others to get corrupted. But riding on the ‘Modi Wave’, came the BJP Government of Devendra Phadnavis in Maharashtra in 2014. Of course, the CM himself is clean and his character is unquestionable but the same cannot be said about the members of his Cabinet.
Here is a list of 16 ministers with a question mark over their credibility:
1. Pankaja Munde
The state’s Women and Child Development ministry led by Munde, daughter of the late stalwart Gopinath Munde, was at the centre of controversy when, in July second week, the Aurangabad High Court struck down tenders issued by the Maharashtra Government worth Rs 12,000 crore for purchase and supply of Take Home Ration (THR), which is raw nutrition provided to Anganwadi children. The tenders issued in February were meant for the state’s 10,000 plus Anganwadis. But Self help Groups (SHG) complained of irregularities, claiming the tenders were designed to favour large companies. This defied Supreme Court guidelines which mandated a proper process for SHGs that would allow employment of women and supply of locally preferred nutritional THR items.
In June 2015, Munde was mired in the Rs 206 crore chikki scam, where she allegedly flouted norms by clearing purchase of chikki, mats and books without floating the mandatory tenders.
Image source : indiatimes.com
2. Girish Bapat
The minister of Food and Civil Supplies was served a notice by Lokayukta in mid-July for failing to curb the sky-rocketing prices of toor dal and other pulses. The Mumbai Grahak Panchayat filed a complaint in which it blamed Bapat for not invoking the provisions of the Essential Commodities Act (ECA) to regulate prices between April 2015 to November 2015, when prices of toor dal went up from Rs 90 per kg to around Rs 200 per kg. It meant the traders earned profits in excess of Rs 4,000 crore and the Opposition has asked for a probe into it.
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3. Girish Mahajan
The Water Source and Medical Education Minister was caught in a murky land purchase. He had forcibly purchased 5 acres of land in 2002 from a Dalit farmer at a cost of Rs 1.11 lakh on the pretext of setting up a sugar mill. The project, however, never took off. He had not divulged the procurement of this land in election affidavits. But immediately after dna broke the news, he said he would return the land to the farmer.
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4. Vinod Tawde
The Education minister was accused of impropriety for awarding contracts to buy fire extinguishers worth Rs 191 crore without inviting e-tenders, similar to Munde’s chikki scam. The scam came to light in June 2015. Previously, the Opposition had accused him of having a fake graduation degree.
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5. Deepak Sawant
In April 2016, the Health minister was accused of a Rs 297 crore drug scam while purchasing drugs for state’s public health system. Leader of Opposition in the legislative council, Dhananjay Munde, had claimed that large quantities of iodine bottles, diabetes medicines etc were bought eventhough the municipal corporations did not need them. Sawant had also suspended three of his officers following the allegations.
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6. Vishnu Savara
Tribal minister Savara was accused of a raincoat scam this month, where the raincoats for tribal kids in residential schools (Ashram Shalas) were ordered without proper tenders. Two months into monsoons, Opposition demanded an explanation as to why the students have not yet gotten the raincoats. “The department had invited e-tenders for procuring rain coats. Due to delay the process was cancelled on June 16, 2016, and the school principals were authorised to carry on the purchases. However, they were later forced to purchase the rain coats from certain vendors and that is why the High Court put a stay on the purchase and lashed out at the government,” Leader of Opposition Vikhe Patil said. The tribal minister did not deny facts but maintained that there was no corruption involved in it.
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7. Chandrashekhar Bawankule
The Energy Minster was accused of purchasing solar pumps priced unreasonably high in favour of a particular company. In January, the CM had stayed its purchase after the red flag, but it was cleared in May after a probe.
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8. Diwakar Raote
Earlier this month, the Lokayukta sent a notice to Transport minister Raote seeking an explanation for an allegation of scam at the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) amounting to over Rs 30 crore. Despite its contract ending in December 2014, Trimax, the company that digitized MSRTC’s ticket vending system, kept receiving payments from the state.
Image source : hindustantimes.com
9. Prakash Mehta
An RTI query by Mulund resident Ankur Patil revealed that a case had been registered against the Housing minister Mehta in 2008 with the Anti Corruption Bureau for “carrying out corruption of crores of rupees in an SRA project”. The building in question is a 22-storey on in Ghatkopar. ACB chief said that the case was still pending in court because the position of the judge was lying vacant in the court. Mehta has, however, said, “The allegation is that there was corruption by me in some 22-storey building in the area, but let me tell you that there is no such building and no transaction involving me has even been done.”
Image source : maharashtra.gov.in
10. Pandurang Fundkar
Recently sworn in as agriculture minister, Fundkar is one of the suspended directors of Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank and is being investigated for mismanagement of funds and irregularities. His name features in the chargesheet as well. While Sena-BJP was in Opposition, allegations of misappropriation were made against State Cooperative Bank. Opposition leader Vikhe Patil questioned how the same man, who was in charge of the bank then, is a minister now and asked the CM to sack him.
Image source : indiatvnews.com
11. Jaykumar Rawal
The newly inducted Tourism minister is accused of misappropriating Rs 36 crore from the Dadasaheb Rawal Cooperative Bank, Dondai, Dhule. Earlier this month, CM Fadnavis transferred the probe from a Special Investigation Team to the Crime Investigation Department (CID).
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12. Sambhaji Patil-Nilangekar
Labour minister Nilangekar is named in the CBI chargesheet for his links with a company declared as wilful defaulter by Bank of Maharashtra. He is a guarantor to loan worth almost Rs 50 crore, which was declared as NPA and a fraud account. The CBI investigations show that the property offered as collateral at the time of sanctioning the loan was not the property that was eventually mortgaged.
Image source : loksatta.com
Minister of State for Home, Patil is said to have under-reported his properties in the election affidavit in 2010. A complaint has also been filed against him in the Anti Corruption Bureau for allegedly forging a dead farmer’s signature to get land in Akola. He bought the land for Rs 5 lakh from Haribhau Mohite in 2000 and transferred it to his son’s name in 2013. The transfer papers have signatures of Patil and Mohite, but government records show that Mohite died in October 2001. The complaint against him was filed by Mumbai-based advocate Prashant Nimbalkar.
Image source : hindustantimes.com
14. Ravindra Waikar
This Minister of State for Home is accused of usurping land spread across 20 acres in the pristine Aarey colony. Sanjay Nirupam has alleged that Waikar constructed a state-run gymnasium adjacent to the “grabbed” land and is running it through his private unregistered trust.
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15. Ravindra Chavan
The Minister of State for Medical Education has 12 criminal cases pending against him. In December 2015, in a letter to CM Devendra Fadnavis, Dombivli builder Jagdish Wagh wrote, “Please save me from the harassment by BJP MLA Ravindra Chavan and KDMC’s additional commissioner Sanjay Gharat else I will also have to take extreme steps like Thane builder Suraj Parmar.” Wagh also said that Chavan had harassed and threatened him, extorted money from him and encroached on his flat in Dombivli, where Chavan lives with his family.
Image source : hindustantimes.com
16. Gulabrao Patil
Minister of State for Co-operation, Patil was arrested on June 16 by Jalgaon police. A case of usurping a prime plot belonging to a school through forgery is registered against him. He is currently out on bail.
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Besides these, veteran BJP minister Eknath Khadse had to recently resign over charges of corruption and shady land deals. However, even as the opposition continues to mount pressure, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is in no mood to blink, In an aggressive defence of his ministers, Fadnavis backed all of them by giving them virtual clean chits. He attacked the Opposition for “baseless allegations”. He further said the Congress-NCP government did not have the moral right to talk about corruption, by raking up ails like farm distress, losses to cooperative banks etc that began in the previous regime. “If we start to exhibit the deeds of the previous government, not even a single stadium in the state would be enough,” he said in the assembly. “Maharashtra’s image has been sullied. We are here to change that.”
Congress and NCP have refused to buy this defence. “The cabinet expansion was an opportunity for the CM to clean his house,” said Sachin Sawant, spokesperson, Congress, adding that the previous regime acted upon charges of corruption, which proved baseless. “But he has incorporated corrupt people. I do not think the CM is clean either. He is shielding corrupt ministers in his cabinet, which raises question about his integrity as well.”
BJP’s ally Shiv Sena has been measured in its criticism, for four in the above list — Deepak Sawant, Diwakar Raote, Ravindra Waikar and Gulabrao Patil — are Shiv Sainiks.
The state has come to an ethical dilemma now. One of the major election issues in 2014 was the corruption and hooliganism of Congress and NCP leaders. Now, the same leaders, who were once the accused, now accuse BJP of the same. Who will people believe and who will they support?
The state of affairs, in the State, is pretty pathetic.
Article Source: DnaIndia.com
Feature Image source : thekharkivtimes.com