The Maharashtra government on Tuesday said a nod had been given for an open inquiry into the allegations of irregularities in three irrigation projects – Goshikhurd, Lower Painganga and Jeegaon – in Vidarbha. Water resources minister Girish Mahajan said the government had given permission after the ACB decided to inquire into the projects.
The Goshikhurd project, cost of which escalated to Rs 7,777 crore from Rs 372 crore in 1984, will be probed first, followed by Jeegaon and Lower Painganga.
Janmanch, a Nagpur-based NGO, had moved the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court for a probe into irregularities worth crores. The NGO led by Anil Killor had even submitted papers to the ACB demanding a probe.
Chitale commission, appointed to probe irrigation project scams across the state, too, had pointed out irregularities in the three projects.
The state asked ACB to decide on the sequence in which they wanted to probe the projects, based on the recommendations in the Chitale commission report. After which, the ACB sought permission to probe the projects.
The water resources department has also appointed officers of the rank of account officers and executive engineers to facilitate the speedy probe of the projects. The team of experts from the department will assist the ACB probe team to understand the technicalities.
“We have been demanding a CBI probe in all the projects being implemented by the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation, as they involve enormous irregularities. The cost escalation of the Goshikhurd project was Rs1.25 crore a day. After our PIL in the HC, the contractors had moved the Supreme Court, which too, had upheld our stand,” said Killor.