Maharashtra FM seeks report on purchases in last 10 years

Mumbai: Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar today said he has sought a report on all purchases made under the rate contract system in the last 10 years from government departments, a move which comes in the backdrop of allegations of corruption in procurement of items by Women and Child Development minister Pankaja Munde.

"It is not an inquiry nor am I saying there was any scam. I am gathering information from various departments of the last 10 years so that we can understand the facts," he said this evening.

If the Chief Minister wants, he may conduct an inquiry into the matter later, the Finance minister said. "While compiling information, we came to know that 31,208 items are lying in godowns unused that were bought in Financial Year 2013-14. The Government had spent Rs 29.13 crore on purchase of such items. This amounts to misuse of Government funds," Mungantiwar maintained.

According to him, leather materials worth Rs 49.48 lakh and machines costing Rs 21.28 lakh are lying unused at Yerwada Jail in Pune since the last five years. Munde was recently under attack from the Opposition which alleged that her department had awarded contracts worth Rs 206 crore without e-tendering, which amounts to violation of norms. The BJP Minister has rejected the charge of graft.

She has been accused of clearing purchases worth Rs 206 crore in one day through 24 Government Resolutions under the rate contract system. A host of items including snacks, mats, dishes, water filters, medicines and books for children were purchased by her Department.

Under the contract system, the buyer and the seller enter into an agreement for supply of items at a fixed price. In the last ten years, the Congress-NCP combine had been in power in Maharashtra for around nine years, while the BJP-led Government assumed office nine months ago.

Giving examples of payment systems adopted by the erstwhile Congress-NCP Government, Mungantiwar said a sum of Rs 99.36 lakh was drawn from treasury before the contractor supplied materials to ITI at Wangaon in Thane (in FY14).

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