ACB closes irrigation cases, says not related to Ajit Pawar
New Delhi, Nov 25: Irrigation scam case against Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has been officially closed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
The move comes just 48 hours after the rebel Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, who is Sharad Pawar's nephew, took oath as deputy to CM Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday, claiming the support of all NCP MLAs.
None of the nine cases closed is linked to Ajit Pawar, now deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, ANI reported quoting sources in the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
"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," Maharashtra Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) DG, Parambir Singh told ANI.
"None of the cases that were closed today is related to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar," he said.
Reacting to the irrigation scam case against Ajit Pawar being closed, Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi has said on Twitter, "Cases closed, corruption charges dropped, shamelessness to be in power exposed."
The scam, pegged at around Rs 70,000 crore, relates to alleged corruption and irregularities in approval and execution of various irrigation projects in Maharashtra during the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) rule.
Pawar was among the NCP ministers who were in-charge of the irrigation department at different times between 1999 and 2014 during the Congress-NCP coalition rule in Maharashtra.
However, the development holds significance as after the Ajit Pawar turned the tables on the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress and Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as Chief Minister in an early morning oath ceremony on Saturday, with Ajit Pawar as his deputy.
The NCP leader claimed all 54 MLAs of the NCP were with him, which has since been contradicted by his uncle and party chief Sharad Pawar.
Fadnavis and the BJP have always targeted Ajit Pawar over allegations of corruption.
In 2014, Fadnavis had vowed to send Ajit Pawar to jail for his alleged corruption in the "irrigation scam".
While campaigning for the election, Fadnavis had said in a rally that Ajit Pawar would be doing in prison after the election. He would be, said Fadnavis, "Chakki peesing and peesing and peesing", words from the iconic film 'Sholay', used to describe prisoners doing hard, manual labour.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had described the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party as "Naturally Corrupt Party", was also among those who congratulated Ajit Pawar after he became the deputy CM.