Maharashtra irrigation scam: privilege notice against minister

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Mumbai:  Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Eknath Khadse today moved a breach of privilege notice against Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Water Resources Minister Sunil Tatkare over the appointment of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the alleged multi-crore irrigation scam in the state.

According to Mr Khadse, during the Nagpur session last year, the minister had stated that a special SIT would be instituted to investigate the inordinate delay in the completion of a slew of irrigation projects, resulting in heavy losses to the state exchequer.

Instead of SIT, the minister went ahead and set up an inquiry committee to probe into the financial irregularities in the irrigation projects, Mr Khadse said.

Even the terms of reference has been changed from what was promised on the floor of the House, the BJP leader said.

The SIT probe was headed by Madhav Chitale, an irrigation expert.

Speaker Dilip Walase-Patil has "reserved" his ruling on the notice.

While the state reels under drought the irrigation scandal has brought huge embarrassment to the government as Opposition Shiv Sena-BJP combine is leaving no stone unturned to take on the state government for the time and cost overruns, and the loss to the state exchequer.

In December last year, the government had announced a SIT probe bowing to pressure from the Opposition, which had stalled the state legislature for several days demanding thorough investigation into the alleged scam.



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