The Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Thursday sought an explanation from the Women and Child Development department headed by minister Pankaja Munde about the alleged awarding of contracts without inviting tenders, a day after claims in this regard emerged against the minister.
The ACB sent a letter to the department after taking cognisance of a complaint filed by the Congress, which has accused Munde of corruption while awarding contracts for supply of a host of items, including books and snacks for children under the Anganwadi programme and other institutions.
"We have received a letter from the ACB last evening where they have asked for information on the purchases done by the department. We are in the process of making a report based on the letter, which we will submit to the chief minister and the chief secretary," Sanjay Kumar, principal secretary of the WCD department, said.
The report will be submitted to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday and the government will then forward it to the ACB, added Kumar.
Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant had on Wednesday registered a complaint with the ACB, alleging that the WCD department had awarded contracts worth Rs.206 crore for procuring chikkis (a popular snack), medicines, growth monitoring machines, water filters, carpets and educational material for anganwadi children on a single day without inviting tenders for the same.
As per state government norms, all contracts of over Rs.3 lakh have to be electronically tendered.
Munde, daughter of BJP veteran, late Gopinath Munde, has rejected the allegations and said she was not afraid of any probe.
Currently on a visit abroad, she said in a statement on Wednesday that she would reply to the charges upon getting back.
The Maharashtra chief minister has come out in strong defence of his Cabinet colleague, saying there seems to be no wrongdoing on her part.