Mumbai: Facing pressure over the alleged scam in the irrigation department, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar announced his resignation on Tuesday.
Ajit, nephew of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, said that he has resigned as his conscience is clear. Claiming that he has done no wrong, he demanded that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should probe the entire matter, while also declaring his willingness for a white paper on the entire matter.
Ajit Pawar said that he has sent his resignation to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and hoped that it will be accepted. Importantly, he added that the Maharashtra government was completely stable.
He had courted controversy in view of the large-scale and arbitrary increase in the costs of irrigation projects in the state.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has already begin a probe into the decisions taken by the irrigation ministry and had questioned some employees from the department yesterday.
During his stint as water resources minister, Pawar `hurriedly` granted project approvals totalling Rs 20,000 crore during an eight-month period in 2009 (32 in June-Aug), without the mandatory clearance of the governing council of Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation.
Also, in an explosive revelation, a whistle-blower in the state government had claimed that a staggering Rs 35,000 crore was siphoned off and wasted on dud irrigation projects in the past decade. The Maharashtra government has spent Rs 70,000 crore on such projects across the state during this period.