Nagpur: The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court, hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed over alleged massive corruption and irregularities into in various irrigation projects in Amravati and Buldana districts during Congress-NCP rule, on Saturday directed the former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and contractor Sandeep Bajoriya to file their replies till July 5, 2017, or else the hearing on matter will be held unilaterally, warned the court.
The then Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has been accused of awarding contracts of Jigaon and Lower Pedhi irrigation projects in Buldhana and Amravati districts respectively to companies of NCP MLA Sandeep Bajoriya from Yavatmal. The PIL alleged that the contracts were given to Bajoriya out of political gains and the contractor indulged in massive corruption and irregularities while carrying out the irrigation projects. During the hearing on the PIL, Ajit Pawar, State Irrigation Secretary, Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC), Water Resources Department (WRD) chief engineer in Wardha, executive engineer at Khamgaon, and superintendent engineer of Buldhana Irrigation project circle, besides Bajoriya’s firm, were served with notices and asked to file their replies. However, neither Ajit Pawar nor any of the respondents filed their replies ever since the PIL was filed.
During the hearing held on Saturday, June 24, 2017, the counsel for the petitioner brought to the notice of Nagpur Bench of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Rohit Deo that no replies have been filed by the respondents. Taking a serious view, the High Court judges directed Ajit Pawar, Bajoriya and other respondents to file their affidavits before July 5 or else the next hearing will be held unilaterally.
Ajit Pawar had claimed that he has no connection, directly or indirectly, with the said irrigation scam in Vidarbha. He has also claimed that he had no role in the process of awarding the contract in the irrigation projects. The allegations of financial irregularities in the said irrigation projects are baseless and therefore his name should be removed from the list of respondents.
The next hearing will be held on July 5. Adv Shyam Devbani appeared on behalf of Ajit Pawar while Adv Shridhar Purohit represented the petitioner.