Mumbai: The Bombay High Court will next week hear a PIL filed by a social activist seeking CBI probe against bureaucrats of Maharashtra Water Resources Department and Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation in connection with the multi-crore irrigation scam.
Activist Pravin Wategaonkar in his petition has alleged criminal conspiracy and misconduct on the part of public servants and sought CBI to probe all projects where cost escalations of Rs 20,000 crore were approved across three months in 2009 by the Water Resources Department (WRD).
"Its not mismanagement or ignorance of the WRD but a deliberate and well managed act of massive corruption by WRD and KIDC and contractors paid to carry out works associated with these projects," the petition claims.
Relying on a speech made by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in May this year, Wategaonkar has said, "In the decade beginning with year 2000-01 till 2009-10, the government of Maharashtra has spent about Rs 70,000 crore on irrigation projects. In the next decade, the projected cost is Rs 75,0000. Probe should be conducted to rein in the unwarranted cost escalations and arbitrariness."
The activist further said many acts of omission and commission by the government departments against public interest would amount to criminal misconduct and abuse of power by public servants and thus an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
According to the petition, even after incurring an expenditure of Rs 4,363 crore up to 2009-10 on 90 projects of KIDC, only 13 projects could be completed.
"Due to slow progress of the projects the very objective of forming KIDC which is for expediting the entire process of completing ongoing projects has failed. The projects which otherwise would have been completed by the irrigation department in ten years could not be completed by KIDC even after 12 years of its formation," the PIL states.
A division bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and R G Ketkar posted the matter for hearing on October 16.
Recently, Deputy Chief Minister and former WRD minister Ajit Pawar resigned with a view to facilitate impartial probe into alleged irregularities in WRD projects.