AAP leader Anjali Damania on Friday levelled a slew of graft charges against former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and alleged that he awarded contracts to his relatives and people close to him when he was in office, charges rubbished by his party NCP.
Addressing a press conference here, she said that Ajit, while holding office, formed several companies involving his close relatives and helped them by flouting all prescribed norms and siphoned off money from the state exchequer.
During his long stint as a Minister in the previous Congress-NCP government, the 56-year-old politician held several key portfolios like Irrigation, Planning, Energy Water Supply and Sanitation, Rural Development and Finance. Among these his most controversial stint was in Irrigation Department, where a multi-crore scam came to light in 2012.
An inquiry should be carried out into the transactions of all businesses, bank accounts, I-T disclosures and source of funds and assets of companies linked to Ajit’s wife, relatives and his close aides, Damania said.
She claimed the former Deputy CM favoured a company, Raj Promoters & Civil Engineers Pvt Ltd, as his cousin and aunt were directors and shareholders of the firm.
"Raj Group bagged dozens of (irrigation) contracts. Of these, it completed 13 projects worth Rs 172 crore, while it still had to complete over 20 ongoing projects worth Rs 830 crore, which include 11 dams and seven canals," she said.
She alleged the company "looted" Rs 104 crore by claiming that 47 per cent of work on Khunteful project in Beed district was over but a site visit revealed that not even 1 per cent of the task had been completed.
Ajit has varied interests in a maze of 69 companies allegedly controlled by his kin and associates, she said.
"Out of these companies, Ajit Pawar was Director in five while his wife was on board of 20 companies."
Claiming to have "clinching evidence" of wrongdoing by Ajit, the AAP leader said she has written to various agencies, including ACB, and also the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court, demanding that an FIR be filed against him under Prevention of Corruption Act.
Ajit was not available for comment, but Jayant Patil, a senior NCP leader and former Maharashtra Finance Minister, said the allegations levelled by Damania against his party colleague were baseless.
Asked about the allegations made against Ajit by the AAP leader, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said he has received files (containing charges and "evidence") sent by Damania.
"All these files will be sent to ACB for examination," said Fadnavis, who also holds the Home portfolio.
Replying to queries from reporters on Ajit, NCP legislator Dhananjay Munde, who is Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council, said he was not aware of graft charges levelled by Damania against the former Deputy Chief Minister.
"I have just come out after 12 hours in the Council (whose monsoon session ended tonight). I am not aware of charges (against Ajit). I will react only after looking into them," Munde said.