ACB seeks nod to probe Bhujbal for Maharashtra Sadan irregularities

September 13th, 2012 - 11:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Mumbai, Sep 13 (IANS) In yet another embarrassment for Maharashtra’s Democratic Front government, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has sought permission to probe allegations of corruption against Public Works Department Minister Chhagan Bhujbal in the Maharashtra Sadan case.

Bhujbal said he was ready to face any kind of probe in the matter, pertaining to alleged irregularities in the construction of the state government guest house, in New Delhi.

“I am prepared to face any kind of inquiry and shall fully co-operate with the investigating authorities,” he said.

In a complaint to the state ACB, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kirit Somaiya has accused the minister of graft in the matter of constructing the Maharashtra Sadan’s new building in New Delhi.

An ACB official has said that it has written to the home ministry seeking its green signal to probe the matter, but declined to elaborate.

Home Minister R. R. Patil and Bhujbal both belong to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and both enjoy a close rapport with party chief Sharad Pawar.

Bhujbal has supported Patil in the recent clamour by a section of the NCP demanding the home minister’s ouster from the cabinet.

Among other things, Somaiya has alleged that Bhujbal had given the contract to construct the Maharashtra Sadan to an associate of his, a contractor who was reportedly not equipped to handle such a large project.

No tenders were floated for the contract and the project cost shot up to Rs.1.50 billion - thrice the original estimate, he further alleged.

Bhujbal’s associate then sub-contracted the project to another, which is also known to have close links with the minister. Even the contract for the furniture for Maharashtra Sadan was awarded to a company run by Bhujbal’s kin,” Somaiya claimed.

Earlier, rejecting Somaiya’s allegations, Bhujbal pointed out that the project was approved by a committee headed by the chief minister and other cabinet ministers.

He said that everything was done as per the rules and the contractor had borne the building costs, and also dismissed charges of his relatives being involved in the matter.

This is not the first time Bhujbal - a former Shiv Sena heavyweight who moved to Congress and later NCP - has faced corruption allegations.

In the past, Bhujbal was interrogated in the multi-billion rupees Telgi stamp paper scam, the Mumbai Eduational Trust, followed by Maharashtra Sadan and now his name has cropped up even in the coal blocks allocation imbroglio.

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