Days after the Bombay High Court struck down tenders worth Rs 12,000 crore issued by Maharashtra Women and Child Development Ministry headed by BJP leader Pankaja Munde, Opposition NCP today demanded an inquiry into the matter by anti-corruption bureau (ACB) and sought her dismissal from the Cabinet.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said the HC’s decision of annulling the tenders, issued earlier this year for purchase and supply of Take Home Ration (THR), proves there was “massive corruption” in issuance of tenders.
Self-help groups (SHGs) had complained of irregularities in issuance of the tenders, which was struck down by the Aurangabad Bench of the HC on Monday.
The tenders worth Rs 12,000 crore, issued by Munde’s department in February, were meant for supply of THR to 10,000 -odd anganwadis (day care centres) in the state. THR is raw food grain given to anganwadi children for them to carry home and get cooked.
“The corruption would not have been possible without the connivance of Pankaja Munde. Therefore, there needs to be a detailed inquiry by the ACB into the matter. The Chief Minister, who promised of providing corruption-free governance, should immediately sack her,” Malik told reporters.
He said according to Supreme Court guidelines, the contracts should should have been awarded to women SHGs and village communities (not private entities) as was done by the previous Congress-NCP government.
“After this government came to power, it wanted certain big players to benefit. Thus, they changed the tender criteria. A GR, issued by the department without permission of the Cabinet, centralises the supply chain so that small SHGs automatically are out of the race,” he said.
Meanwhile, Munde was not available for comment on the issue.