The Congress-NCP alleged corruption by yet another minister in the BJP-Shiv Sena government -- tribal development minister Vishnu Savra -- on Wednesday.
The Opposition alleged irregularities in procurement of raincoats to be distributed to students in 529 tribal residential schools in the state and raised doubts over Savra’s role.
The minister refuted the allegations and said a departmental probe was ordered into the allegations. He also turned down the demand for police investigation.
Raising the issue in the state Assembly, Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil alleged the contracts to supply raincoats to 1.91 lakh students in tribal schools were allotted to bogus companies, which were not functioning from the addresses they gave to the government while seeking the contracts.
“I suspect the minister is linked with this. I have documents to prove a ‘politically powerful’ contractor obtained the contracts in different names. The principals of the schools, who were authorized to procure the raincoats, were pressured by political leadership to give contracts to particular contractors,” alleged Vikhe-Patil.
In most cases, the process of issuing contracts was not completed and the raincoats have not been provided to the students even though the monsoon has set in, alleged Opposition legislators, demanding a probe by the anti-corruption bureau or a special investigation team of the police.
Savra said although the principals were authorized to procure raincoats by increasing the limit of rate contracts to Rs3 lakh from Rs50,000, it was done only in two of the 12 projects.
“We have ordered a departmental inquiry to probe the irregularities involved in the procurement and against officials responsible for the delay. Once the inquiry is completed, action would be taken against the officials,” he said.