The latest development in the new Maharashtra Sadan scam case is sure to create a ruckus within the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is already under intense pressure to clear its leaders’ names from the controversies and scams they have been linked to while the NCP was part of the Democratic Front (DF) government in the state.

NCP leader and former PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal. File pic
NCP leader and former PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal. File pic

Acting on a tip-off, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) raided a locked room at the PWD Government Rest House, Kalanagar, yesterday and recovered eight bags full of papers, files, registers, CDs and cellphones related to the construction of the new Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi.

The ACB has been asked to conduct an inquiry into the alleged irregularities while awarding contracts to the companies that built the Sadan. Allegations have been levelled against the then PWD minister and NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal for allotting contracts to his friends and relatives.

“We will check the documents and find out what they are about,” said Director General of Police Pravin Dixit, Maharashtra ACB. Sources claim that the inquiry in the matter, which had almost reached a dead end, will gain momentum with ACB’s latest find and is sure to give headaches to Bhujbal and the NCP.

As the PWD minister during the Congress-NCP regime, Bhujbal allegedly issued contracts for constructing the government building to his associates, accused of lacking experience in executing such projects.

No tenders were floated, and the cost of the project shot up to Rs 150 crore, three times the original projection. The associate then subcontracted the project to another firm, which is known to have close links with the minister. In addition, contract for furniture was issued to a company run by Bhujbal’s relatives.