Thirteen years before Ajit Pawar resigned as Maharashtra's deputy CM over graft allegations in irrigation, a senior official from Pune's Anti-Corruption Bureau had drawn the government's attention to corruption in irrigation projects in western Maharashtra.
In September 1999, SM Mushrif had submitted a report to the bureau's Inspector General on the irregularities and sought permission to probe cases and register offences.
"No action has been taken so far, and the methods (of graft) I had referred to have been exposed," Mushrif, now retired, told HT on Thursday.
Mushrif said hundreds of crores of rupees could have been saved if the government had acted on his report.
The report had pointed out that the Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation (MKVDC) had introduced a system of pre-qualification of contractors, giving officials a choice to select a particular party. "Largescale favouritism took place," he said.
This was during the tenure of the Sena-BJP government, between 1995 and 1999.
In his report, Mushrif had alleged manipulation of tender notices. In several cases, the estimated project costs were increased, and sometimes doubled.
Ramraje Nimbalkar, minister in charge of MKVDC, said he was not aware of any such report. "I don't know whether the ACB even forwarded such a report to the department or the government," he said.