Congress seeks CBI probe against Maharashtra ministers

Mumbai, July 7 (IANS) The Congress on Tuesday once again hit out at Maharashtra’s ruling BJP-Shiv Sena combine, and demanded a CBI probe into the allegations against minister Pankaja Munde on irregularities in awarding contracts worth Rs.206 crore.

Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said the Congress was also considering seeking legal recourse to the allegations of a fake degree of Education Minister Vinod Tawde.

Addressing media persons, Chavan said a free and impartial probe was a must in both the matters.

“It was the previous government which decided that procurement of more than Rs.50 lakh must be done through e-tendering, and when I took over, I reduced it to Rs.10 lakh. Now, the BJP government has brought it down down further to Rs.3 lakh,” Chavan said.

He called upon Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to clarify his intentions when he took a decision of e-tendering for procurements of more than Rs.3 lakh and about the rules being violated now.

Replying to a question that the BJP was making similar allegations against the Congress, Chavan said he was prepared to face a CBI probe into procurements made even during the earlier Congress-Nationalist Congress Party regime.

Lashing out at Tawde, Chavan said the Pune-based institute which Tawde claims to be the best in the world, was neither recognised nor authorised to confer engineering degrees.

“We are thinking of taking a legal remedy in this matter,” Chavan said.

On the burning issue of farmers’ suicides, the Congress leader said that the previous UPA government at the centre had in 2008 written off farm loans worth Rs.72,000 crore at the national level, and the state government had waived off loans worth Rs.7,000 crore.

“In the present grim crises confronting the state farmers, the centre must announced a relief package of Rs.3 lakh crore at the national level and Rs.15,000 crore in Maharashtra.

“The farmers’ crisis is critical. With the uncertainties of the monsoon, the farmers may have to sow again,” Chavan said.

He said the Congress will launch a state-wide agitation on July 9 seeking justice for the farmers.

Targetting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chavan alleged that the central government was now merely giving new names and announcing the policies initiated by the previous UPA government.

“There is hardly any work in the country, only events, and the prime minister himself has become an event manager.

“In the past one year, he has conducted 54 events. He is breaking new records in foreign trips. And Fadnavis is following in his footsteps,” Chavan said sarcastically.

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