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Sena-Cong-NCP to Move SC Against ‘Clean Chit’ to Ajit Pawar, Say Fadnavis Can’t Take Major Decisions

Illustration by Mir Suhail (News18.com)

Illustration by Mir Suhail (News18.com)

The petition, which is ready to be filed in the Supreme Court, seeks a stay on the ACB's move to close the cases and also urges the top court restrain Fadnavis from taking any such decisions till the floor test is completed.

New Delhi: Contending that the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra can't take any major policy decisions until a floor test to test its majority is conducted, the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine plans to move the Supreme Court against Monday’s decision to close nine cases in the alleged 70,000 crore irrigation scam.

Although the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau stated that the cases closed were not related to Ajit Pawar, who was on Saturday sworn in as deputy CM after trying to engineer a split in the NCP, the joint petition by the three parties described it as a “clean chit” and said the move to close cases against Ajit Pawar is illegal.

The petition, which is ready to be filed in the Supreme Court, seeks a stay on the ACB's move to close the cases and also urges the top court restrain Fadnavis from taking any such decisions till the floor test is completed.

The application is likely to be mentioned after the top court pronounces its order on the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress plea seeking a floor test at 10.30am. A three-judge bench of Justices NV Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna had on Monday reserved its order after two days of arguments.

The ACB had in a letter dated November 25 closed nine cases in the water scandal in which Ajit Pawar has been one of the prime accused. The ACB, however, had clarified that none of these cases were linked to deputy CM Ajit Pawar after opposition parties claimed Ajit Pawar was "exonerated" in lieu of his support to the BJP in forming a government two days ago.

However, officials said said the cases were not related to Pawar and were closed on the orders of the Bombay High Court, which had ordered certain action before November 28. "This is a conditional closure, which means the state or the court can reopen the case," a senior ACB official said.

Speaking to News18, ACB’s Director General Paramvir Singh claimed that the closure of the cases had nothing to do with the political developments in the state and was recommended by his department three months ago. “There was no role of Ajit Pawar in these nine cases… the probe is on in other cases. We are probing more than 3,000 irregularities in this scam,” he said.

Pawar had served as the deputy CM in the Congress-NCP government between November 2010 and September 2012 before resigning over allegations of the irrigation scam.

As the state’s water resource minister, he was accused of approving 38 projects worth Rs 20,000 crore in 2009 by tweaking rules without the specific clearance of the Governing Council of Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC).

Despite the huge amounts of money spent on various projects, it was alleged that there was no significant rise in irrigated land in the state.

The BJP had repeatedly targeted the Pawar clan over the corruption allegations as it claimed that Maharashtra’s irrigation potential increased by just 0.1% in those years despite an expenditure of Rs 70,000 crore on such projects.


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