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ACB gets govt nod to probe graft allegations against Bhujbal

The Maharashtra government has given its consent to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to conduct an inquiry into corruption charges against senior minister Chhagan Bhujbal.

The ACB had sought permission to conduct a probe, in a letter to the additional chief secretary (home) on July 18, following allegation by BJP leader Kirit Somaiya that Bhujbal misused his official position to award contracts for the Maharashtra Sadan building in Delhi to firms owned by his relatives.

Chhagan Bhujbal
Chhagan Bhujbal.

"The Home Department has given its consent to the ACB to conduct the inquiry," sources said.

Bhujbal has welcomed the probe. "I welcome the probe and it will help the truth to come out," said Bhujbal who has denied any wrongdoing in the construction of the government guest house in New Delhi.

Such a consent is needed for any action against a public servant. Bhujbal, who belongs to NCP, holds the Public Works portfolio. Incidentally, the Home department is headed by R R Patil, who also belongs to the NCP.

Somaiya also alleged that Bhujbal had given the contract to construct the Maharashtra Sadan to an associate of his, a contractor who was reportedly not equipped to handle such a large project.

No tenders were floated for the contract and the project cost shot up to Rs.1.50 billion - thrice the original estimate, he further alleged.

 

Bhujbal has denied the corruption allegations. 

This is not the first time Bhujbal - a former Shiv Sena heavyweight who moved to Congress and later NCP - has faced corruption allegations.

In the past, Bhujbal was interrogated in the multi-billion rupees Telgi stamp paper scam, the Mumbai Educational Trust, followed by Maharashtra Sadan and now his name has cropped up even in the coal blocks allocation imbroglio.

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