Irrigation scam: Sanjay Barve didn't have the correct material, says Param Bir Singh

Updated: Dec 21, 2019, 08:29 IST | Faizan Khan | Mumbai

ACB DGP Param Bir Singh says Sanjay Barve (now Mumbai police boss) didn't have the actual reports pointing to Ajit Pawar not being involved in the scam

Param Bir Singh (left) and Sanjay Barve
Param Bir Singh (left) and Sanjay Barve

Former DGP of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Sanjay Barve (now Mumbai police commissioner) did "not notice" a VIDC report of March 26, 2018 filed in response to a query by SP Amravati to the Water Resource Department (WRD), the fresh affidavit in the multi-crore irrigation scam stated. The affidavit was filed by DGP Param Bir Singh before the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court on December 19.

"At the time when the said affidavit was prepared and filed, none of the enquiry/investigating officers, enquiring/investigating the case had submitted any report relating to the role of Ajit Pawar. Therefore, Sanjay Barve did not have the advantage of actual record and material collected by the investigating officers, which is now available," Singh said in the affidavit.

He also pointed to a report of Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) dated March 26, 2018, in response to a query made by SP Amravati to Water Resources Department.
"Unfortunately, it appears that it was not noticed by Barve, which becomes clear from the fact that it is neither mentioned nor its contents are dealt with anywhere in the aforesaid affidavit," Singh added.

He said that after this affidavit (dated November 26, 2018) was filed, "substantial material and developments took place in the enquiries/investigations." These, he said, has brought in "decisive and material change in the entire complexion of the case, particularly relating to the role of Ajit Pawar."

Barve's affidavit last year had said, "It is observed that the minister in-charge of the water resources department shoves the responsibility on to the officers. In the Gosikhurd and Jigaon projects, Ajit Pawar had signed extension of tenders himself."

'No legal duty on part of Ajit Pawar'
The fresh affidavit by ACB DG Param Bir Singh says that as far as the role of the then WRD minister Ajit Pawar is concerned, "no criminal liability is disclosed during the course of an enquiry/investigation by the Special Investigation Team (SIT)." On November 27 this year, the superintendent of Nagpur and Amravati ACB also filed an affidavit before the Nagpur Bench of Bombay HC, saying that Ajit Pawar cannot be held responsible for the acts of executing agencies, as there is no legal duty on his part.

In a fresh affidavit, Singh has also said that he has carefully and personally considered the drafts of both the affidavits when they were placed before him and he has approved the same. As per the affidavit, the WRD, in its letter on December 3, has reiterated that the opinions given by the WRD, Government of Maharashtra in this regard vide their earlier letters are correct.

It also said the procedural and administrative lapses during the tendering process and other aspects of execution of the tender works pointed out by expert committees like Vadnerei Committee, Mendhegiri Committee, Chitale Committee etc have been dealt with through departmental action against officials of VIDC. The Maha Vikas Aaghadi government led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was sworn in on November 28 and the fresh report was given to the ACB by WRD on December 3.

Param Bir Singh's affidavit

Total tenders in which investigation was started: 2,654
Nagpur tenders: 102
Amravati tenders: 57
Total FIRs: 24
Nagpur region: 20 FIRs
Amravati region: 4 FIRs
Enquiries closed: 45 tenders (31 in Nagpur, 14 in Amravati)
Matters referred to WRD for permission under section 17 (A) of Prevention of Corruption act to file FIR: 14 (7 in Nagpur and 7 in Amravati).

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