After a series of allegations and demands for her resignation by the opposition, a fresh controversy has struck BJP Minister Pankaja Munde. A fresh charge of irregularity has come up against her, accusing the minister of allegedly giving a dam contract to a certain firm without any tender.
Earlier after the “Chikki Scandal and other related issues with the episode” worth 206 crore Maharashtra Women and Children Development Minister Pankaja Munde had come out in open and defended her stand. Munde said, “There was no violation of rules, says Maharashtra minister Pankaja Munde after allegations of Rs 200 crore scam.”
“No question of e-tendering as rules issued later: Pankaja Munde after allegations of Rs. 200 crore scam,” Munde further added.
Munde had that time also stated that, “Sensationalizing anything without proper info can also destroy people’s trust in the system. Have not broken any rules as far as I am concerned,I am here to do best for women and children.”
According to a report by The New Indian Express, Maharashtra Women and Children Development Minister Pankaja Munde received a letter from Manjushree Gund, the president of Ahmednagar Zilha Parishad, on June 15 which stated that the chikki (sweet prepared using groundnuts and jaggery), given to tribal students under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) was adulterated with clay. Munde had cleared the purchase of the chikki, along with several other items including mats, books and water filters, by allegedly violating several norms and awarding contracts at a cost of Rs 206 crore.
As per state administration records, Munde had cleared all the purchases on February 13 through 24 Government Resolutions (GR) that had been issued in a hurry.
Munde had also cleared the purchase of workbooks for students worth Rs 5.6 crore from a Navi Mumbai-based firm, the payment cheque for which was issued to its owner in his personal capacity and not in the firm’s name. She also raised the cost per unit of water filters from a Nashik-based company to Rs 5,200 even after it was approved for purchase by ICDS Commissioner Vinita Singal at Rs 4,500 per unit.
According to the rules and regulations of the Maharashtra government, purchases above Rs 3 lakh needs to be done through e-tendering by the state government.