There is a new twist to the ‘chikki’ row, courtesy Congress leader Narayan Rane. The senior leader on Thursday said the then leader of Opposition in the assembly, Eknath Khadse, had recommended Suryakanta Mahila Audyogik Sahakari Santha, the controversial firm supplying chikki for anganwadi students for years, for the contract.
The allegation came in response to a claim by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis last week that Rane once had recommended the firm’s name for the contract.
The contract worth Rs 75 crore was given to the firm in February this year, and has been mired in controversy for substandard supply and flouting of norms during the allotment.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government and minister of women and child welfare Pankaja Munde have repeatedly rubbished corruption allegations. When the issue was raised by the Opposition in the state legislature last week, Fadnavis had claimed his government was following the norms laid by the previous government and named Rane in the process.
“As a minister I never made any recommendation for any contract in my entire life. It was the industries department, led by me, which finalised the rates of the items for which contracts are given by various departments. Fadnavis should produce the proofs while levelling allegations against me. In fact, it was Khadse who, as leader of Opposition, recommended the allocation to Suryakanta in 2012,” he said.
Khadse has rubbished the claim. “Why did Rane kept mum for all these years? They should clarify if the allocation of the contract by the Congress-led government was done based on my recommendation,” he said.