HC rejects objections against Vidarbha irrigation scam
The state had sought their dismissal, citing availability of alternative remedy and for not following procedure before moving the high court.
Nagpur: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday rejected preliminary objections raised by Maharashtra government's Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC), under the scanner for alleged corruption, against two PILs seeking probe into the matter. The court's Nagpur bench is hearing two PILs on the alleged scam, seeking a probe by CBI or a court-monitored investigation.
The ruling by division bench of justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Arun Chaudhari paved the way for hearing of these two PILs. The state had sought their dismissal, citing availability of alternative remedy and for not following procedure before moving the high court. Jan Manch, one of the petitioners, alleges various corrupt transactions such as illegal grants to contractors in the name of mobilisation/machinery advance, sub-standard work, twisting/scrapping of norms, artificial escalation of costs, etc.
Citing CAG report, Jan Manch says that in 2009, within a span of seven months, cost of 38 irrigation projects under VIDC escalated by a whopping Rs 20,050.06 crore -- from Rs 6,672.27 crore to Rs 26,722.33 crore. Thirty of these projects got hurried approvals on four days -- June 24 (10 projects); July 7 (5 projects), August 14 (11 projects); August 18 (4 projects).
According to VIDC's affidavit, cost escalation was of Rs 17,701 in seven months in 2009. VIDC lawyer and senior counsel V R Manohar had argued that the petitioners should have first made a representation to the government, and filed a private complaint with lower court, instead of moving the high court directly.