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CAG's Shivaji Memorial Report Underscores Our Claim of Scam by Previous BJP-led Govt: Congress

Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant also welcomed Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's assurance thataction will be taken if irregularities were found in the memorial project.

PTI

Updated:December 16, 2019, 11:27 PM IST
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CAG's Shivaji Memorial Report Underscores Our Claim of Scam by Previous BJP-led Govt: Congress
Representative image. Artist’s Impressing of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj memorial (Photo courtesy: Egis)

Mumbai: The Congress on Monday alleged the charges it had leveled against the previous BJP-led government in connection with the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial in the Arabian sea have been underscored by the CAG in its report.

Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant also welcomed Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's assurance thataction will be taken if irregularities were found in the memorial project.

The Congress and NCP had, in September this year, alleged conflict of interest and corruption to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore under the garb of bringing down costs of the memorial being constructed off Mumbai's coast.

Sawant and Mumbai NCP chief Nawab Malik had claimed the previous Devendra Fadnavis government accepted advice from a legal firm recommended by the project consultant, rather than going by the wisdom of the state's law and judiciary department or the state advocate-general.

The shortlisted contractor for the project had submitted a Rs 3800 crore bid, which the government brought down to Rs 2500 crore through negotiations, and the audit department had raised objections over the negotiations and sought a detailed inquiry, Sawant had said then.

"The government's base price for the tender was kept at Rs 2692.50 crore but the short listed contractor's bid was Rs 3826 crore, 42 per cent higher than the government's estimate," he had said.

In this situation, the government should have called for fresh tenders, Sawant had said, adding that the estimated price would be lesser by more than Rs 1000 crore after design changes.

"The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has underscored the allegations the Congress and NCP had made in connection with the scam in the memorial work. Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi's Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has ordered probe into the matter. We welcome it," Sawant told reporters here on Monday.

Sawant said a detailed probe in the matter will expose the "corrupt" face of the BJP. "Only those who do not respect Shivaji Maharaj can dare engage in corruption in the work of his memorial," he added.

Media reports over the past few days have claimed due procedures were not followed in the tendering process of the memorial project and afterwards under the erstwhile Fadnavis government.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for the memorial project, a flagship programme of the then BJP-led state government, and conducted 'jal poojan' off Mumbai coast in December, 2016.

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