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Sena-NCP-Congress move SC on ACB closing 9 irrigation scam cases allegedly involving Ajit Pawar

The three parties in their petition contended that the Devendra Fadnavis government can’t take major policy decisions as it has not cleared the floor test yet, to prove its majority.

SNS | New Delhi |

As the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Monday closed nine cases of 10-year-old irrigation scam allegedly involving newly sworn- in Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress have challenged the move in the Supreme Court.

The three parties in their petition contended that the Devendra Fadnavis government can’t take major policy decisions as it has not cleared the floor test yet, to prove its majority.

Although the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau stated that the cases closed were not related to Ajit Pawar, who was on Saturday sworn in as deputy CM after trying to engineer a split in the NCP, the joint petition by the three parties described it as a “clean chit” and said the move to close cases against Ajit Pawar is illegal.

According to a notification issued by the ACB, Mumbai, the nine cases that got ACB’s clean chit pertain to big and small irrigation projects in Washim, Yavatmal, Amravati and Buldhana under the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) for the Vidarbha region and not involve Ajit Pawar, who in a surprise move switched side from NCP and joined the BJP led government, the joint petition says that ACB has given him a “clean chit” which is illegal.

However, the Director-General, ACB, Parambir Singh maintained that “none of these cases closed today pertain to DCM Ajit Pawar”.

These cases among others, collectively known as the infamous Rs 70,000 crore ‘Irrigation Scam’ dated 10 years back, created a major political furore in the politics of Maharashtra.

In 2014 election campaign as well the just concluded Maharastra Assembly Elections too, Devendra Fadnavis raised the issue and assured to put allegedly involved Ajit Pawar behind the bars once voted in power.

However, the Director-General, ACB, Parambir Singh maintained that “none of these cases closed today pertain to DCM Ajit Pawar”.

But the manner in which it has come two days after the new government led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar was sworn-in itself makes the ACB’s move “very suspicious”.

The Supreme Court today announced that Maharashtra will go for floor test on November 27, and all MLAs must take oath before 5pm till Wednesday, administered by pro tem speaker which will be videographed.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice NV Ramana comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Ashok Bhushan reserved their order on the urgent plea filed by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress challenging Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s decision to swear in BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister and Ajit Pawar of NCP as the Deputy Chief Minister on Monday. In their joint plea, the three parties have urged the top court to order an immediate floor test.

On Saturday morning, Maharashtra politics witnessed a very dramatic turn with NCP leader Ajit Pawar swearing-in as Deputy Chief Minister with BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister. On Friday evening, the NCP-Congress-Shiv Sena alliance was looking to be a reality after a series of meetings. But the Saturday’s event changed the course of Maharashtra government formation- a battle that is underway since the declaration of results on October 24.