“All the allegations are politically motivated. The accusations were an attempt to malign him after he became minister. But still, all these allegations should be probed for digging out the truth. I am ready to face it,” Bawankule said.
Nagpur: Rattled by a damning report in the media charging him with awarding road contracts worth crores to his brother’s company, the State Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule on Monday tried to come clean on the controversy.
Addressing a press conference, Bawankule, vehemently denied his role in awarding road contracts to Shree Jagdamba Construction Company run by his younger brother, Nandkishore. “I don’t have any conflict of interest in my brother’s firm bagging contracts. It is true that I was once associated with the firm. But I disassociated from it in 2004. Since then, I have absolutely nothing to do with the firm.
The company of my has procured the contracts in accordance with the rules and regulations. The tenders above Rs 3 lakh are floated by State Government online. The company having the lowest tender is awarded the contract. I became minister in October 2014 whereas the company is in the business since past many years. It is fact that the company is run by my brother but it is not necessary that a minister’s brother should not do any business. My brother is a separate entity. There is no question of influencing the officials for giving him a contract. The government awards such works on an e-tendering basis,” Bawankule stated.
Clarifying his stand on controversy surround his family members grabbing jobs in the name of project-affected persons in lieu of acquisition of his father’s land, Bawankule said, “The village was rehabilitated in 1990-91. That time I was a student of Class XII. It clearly shows he has not done any cheating in the work. Moreover, the house where I am presently staying was partitioned by his father in accordance with the Hindu Law. I am staying in the house with my family as per the very partition of the house. What is wrong in it,” Bawankule quipped.
Notably, reports published in a section of media has said that the BJP-led government has so far awarded 21 road contracts, collectively worth more than Rs 57 crore, to a firm headed by Bawankule’s younger brother. Bawankule himself was a partner in the firm till 2004. The minister’s wife, Jyoti, and son, Sanket, were also partners in the firm earlier. Since January 2015, the firm, Shree Jagdamba Construction Company, has been awarded 21 road contracts worth Rs 57.68 crore, all in Bawankule’s constituency Kamptee.
Bawankule’s archrival Kishor Chaudhary, who had unsuccessfully contested on a Nationalist Congress Party ticket for the adjoining Saoner constituency in the 2014 Assembly polls, had alleged that as Guardian Minister for Nagpur, Bawankule was using his clout to allot road contracts to the firm.
Bawankule, when asked, however, said that Chaudhary was making unfounded accusations for political vendetta. “All the allegations are politically motivated after I became minister. The accusations were an attempt to malign him,” he asserted. Questioning Chaudhary’s integrity, the minister said that Chaudhary has lost a case in High Court in this connection. He withdrew the case from Supreme Court. The Lokayukta even did not accept Chaudhary’s complaint. “But still, all these allegations should be probed for digging out the truth. Those leveling allegations can approach the Chief Minister for any probe and I am ready to face it. I do my job honestly that is why my party has trusted me,” Bawankule said. He further said that “I appeal the social activist Anajli Damania to make all the issues related to me public.”