The Bombay high court on Tuesday directed the Maharashtra Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) to file a report indicating progress in its open enquiry into alleged irregularities involving irrigation projects.
The bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice AK Menon directed the ACB to submit the report by April 23. They were hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by four Aam Admi Party (AAP) activists.
During the course of hearing on Tuesday, advocate general Sunil Manohar submitted an ACB report in a sealed envelope to the bench. The judges perused the report and expressed satisfaction over the scope of the open enquiry being very wide and covering almost every aspect of the irregularities alleged to have taken place in allotment of work of irrigation projects during the tenure of the Congress-NCP government.
The AAP activists — Mayank Gandhi, Anjali Damania, Ajay Mathankar and Brian Lobo — have sought cancellation of all sanctions and permissions granted for the Kondhane irrigation project on Ulhas river in Raigad district and also contract and work orders issued for construction of the dam. They have also sought a probe in 14 other irrigation projects.
The petitioners further contended that no need-based study had been conducted, no impact assessment was made and no technical clearance of any nature was obtained before or even after sanctioning the dam. No proper assessment of water available for drinking, irrigation and industrial use from the Ulhas river basin has been done ever since the last report of Chitale Commission in 1982, the recommendations of which are completely flouted, they said.
Sanjay Belsare, deputy secretary, water resources department, has filed an affidavit in reply to the PIL stating the ACB has begun open enquiry into alleged irregularities in 12 out of 15 irrigation projects mentioned in the PIL.