Maharashtra orders ‘open inquiry’ by ACB into ‘irregularities’

The Maharashtra authorities on Thursday ordered an open inquiry by the state Anti Corruption Bureau into alleged irregularities in Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan, a water conservation scheme.

As many as 931 works beneath the earlier Devendra Fadnavis authorities’s flagship venture will probably be subjected to the open inquiry whereas 396 others will endure a departmental probe.

An “open” inquiry implies that ACB — a wing of the Maharashtra Police — can summon individuals for recording statements, name for wage and income-tax return statements and search particulars about movable and immovable property. If it finds sufficient proof, an FIR will be registered beneath the Prevention of Corruption Act or the inquiry will be closed if no proof of corruption is discovered.

Water Conservation Minister Shankarrao Gadakh stated, “The state government has accepted the recommendations of the Vijay Kumar committee recommending a probe into irregularities in Jalyukta Shivar works. The ACB will conduct open inquiry into 931 works.”

Fadnavis stated: “The decision to probe Jalyukta Shivar works is welcome. During my tenure, I had ordered investigation into 600 works. Let the facts come out.”

“These schemes were implemented and monitored by the district collector’s office. Seven departments are involved in the project. The average cost of each work is between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh,” he added.

The scheme was launched by the Fadnavis authorities in December 2014. The goal was to make 25,000 Maharashtra villages freed from drought.

A supply within the authorities stated: “Options were to either conduct a discreet probe or an open inquiry by the ACB or order an administrative departmental probe. After some deliberation, the government felt an open inquiry by ACB was the best option.”

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