“The entire set up was created to facilitate corruption in irrigation,” said Somaiya. He alleged that these front companies were formed just to get kickbacks in irrigation projects. He called it a joint venture between former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and ministers Tatkare and Ramraje Nimbhalkar who collaborated with him. Somaiya said he would come up with evidence against Pawar in the coming days.
Tatkare brushed aside the claims, and said, “What can I say of these allegations he is making every day?” The irrigation scam has been grabbing headlines as Pawar recently resigned from the post of deputy CM after his name figured in it. To combat allegations of rampant corruption, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has promised to present a white paper on the issue.
Somaiya also accused state public works department (PWD) minister Chhagan Bhujbal of buying huge tracts of land in Navi Mumbai through a web of companies. “It has been a pattern of contractors and builders who bag PWD contracts to invest or donate money to firms or foundations of the Bhujbal family,” alleged Somaiya. “The money is finally routed to buy land.”
While Bhujbal was not available for comment, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik has rubbished the allegations. “Somaiya has been going on a media trail and is assassinating the reputation of our leaders. Since he has already filed a public interest litigation, he should present his case before the court instead of holding press conferences,” said Malik.