Mahila Mandal levels corruption charges against state Minister

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Mumbai, Nov 19 (UNI) The Bombay High Court today directed the Maharashtra government to file an affidavit within four weeks, giving details of nutritious food supply contract allotments in the city and neighbouring Nagpur.

The order was pursuant to a PIL levelling charges of corruption against Women and Child Development Minister Harshavardhan Patil.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice J P Deodhar also allowed the petitioner body, Laxmi Mahila Mandal, to add the Women and Child Development Minister as party respondent by amending the petition and also observed that, all allotment of contracts made by the department should be attached with the final petition.

The Laxmi Mahila Mandal moved to the High Court challenging the state government's decision to call tenders for supply of nutritious food to Anganwadis and Balmandirs in the metropolis and Nagpur through integrated child development scheme.

During the course of hearing today, petitioner's counsel M M Vashi alleged that despite the Supreme Court's directions to clear all payments of nutritious food supplies to Mahila Mandals in Mumbai, the outstandings have mounted to Rs one crore, and Rs 30 lakh had been demanded at the behest of the Women and Child Development Minister, to clear these outstanding payments.

Advocate Vashi also alleged that despite stay order from Aurangabad Bench of the High Court, the state government has gone ahead with tenders for nutritious food supply in the city and Nagpur, whereas the allotments in rest of the state were stayed by the department itself. However, after filing of the PIL, the stay imposed on the department has been withdrawn.

Additional Government Pleader G W Mattos, however, clarified that the stay order of the Aurangabad bench was limited to that district only and was not applying to the whole state. The matter will now come up for further hearing after four weeks.

UNI

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