MUMBAI: In the run-up to the 2014 assembly polls, BJP’s main poll plank was corruption in public works department, then led by Chhagan Bhujbal, and water resources department controlled by Ajit Pawar.
BJP had alleged there was a Rs 70,000-crore scam in major projects, and a scam of Rs 870 crore in construction of Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi. Following a complaint by a social worker, ACB registered a criminal case against Bhujbal, his nephew Samir and more than a dozen high-ranking PWD officials and private contractors.
Bhujbal had denied any corruption as neither the land nor money was actually transferred to his or any relative’s name. Enforcement Directorate had arrested Bhujbal and his nephew under Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Bhujbal and Samir were in jail for more than two years. A fortnight ago, a special court discharged the contractors and his brothers due to lack of evidence. Bhujbal had moved the same court and was discharged.
In the irrigation scam too, it was similar. ACB recorded statements of Ajit Pawar and senior NCP leader Sunil Tatkare, but many years after then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis granted permission to ACB to conduct an inquiry, it failed to make out a case against them. Bhujbal contended that he was framed for political reasons, but now he has been set free, the fact remains that he has lost prime time of his political career.
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