Rs 95 cr siphoned off from Maharashtra corp used in NCP campaign: Kirit Somaiya

Aurangabad: BJP MP Kirit Somaiya today alleged that Rs 95 crore were "siphoned off" from a state-run corporation for backward classes by its former chairman Ramesh Kadam "at the behest of" NCP leader Ajit Pawar and used to fund the party campaign in 2014 state assembly polls.

Kirit Somaiya
Kirit Somaiya

The NCP, however, has dubbed as "false" and "baseless" the allegations levelled by the BJP leader. "A sum of Rs 95 crore meant for the uplift of dalit youths under the Annabhau Sathe Magasvargiya Vikas Mahamandal was used for NCP's campaigning in four districts in the state," Somaiya told reporters here.

Somaiya claimed that Kadam "swindled" the funds "on directions of Ajit Pawar". When contacted, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, "Somaiya is levelling false and baseless allegations against us. He should corroborate his statement with proofs. If he is a real anti-graft crusader as he claims, he should first put forth his views on Eknath Khadse, Pankaja Munde and Vinod Tawde (all BJP ministers)."

Kadam, then NCP legislator, was arrested last August by state CID in a case of misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 141 crore of the corporation body set up to extend financial aid to members of Other Backward Communities. He was also suspended by his party following arrest.

Ajit Pawar is the nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar and had served as deputy Chief Minister in the previous Congress-NCP alliance government in Maharashtra.

"The diverted money was used for campaigning during the Assembly elections of 2014 in Jalna (Rs 11 cr), Beed (Rs 8.5 cr), Buldhana (Rs 24 crore) and a huge amount was used in Pune as well. Around 95 per cent of the entire fund disbursed to the so-called beneficiaries by the corporation was on the recommendations of the NCP leaders," Somiaya alleged.

The corporation was established in 1985 by then state government with the main objective of the welfare of members of the Matang Community living below poverty line. Somaiya also demanded that the CID should expedite its probe into the case.

Somaiya also launched an unveiled attack on Shiv Sena, which is ruling the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), stating the BJP will "uproot the mafia raaj" in the country's richest civic body.

Sena is a junior partner in the BJP-led NDA governments at Centre and in Maharashtra. Both Sena and BJP also share power in BMC.

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