The Congress had accused Ms Munde of violating rules for a transparent online bidding process and also sanctioning inflated deals.
Mumbai: The state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has given a clean chit to Maharashtra women and child welfare minister Pankaja Munde in the alleged chikki scam, which pertains to alleged irregularities in the awarding of contracts worth Rs 206 crore for anganwadis.
ACB officials revealed that the agency’s inquiry into the goods’ procurement process revealed no discrepancies in the transactions, which were “in order”. The records were gathered from the department.
In June 2015, state Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant had filed a complaint against Ms Munde with the ACB demanding that an inquiry be initiated against her. Mr Sawant alleged that Ms Munde had taken bribes and awarded 24 contracts for supply of chikkis, mats and books — items needed for anganwadis under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). The Congress had accused Ms Munde of violating rules for a transparent online bidding process and also sanctioning inflated deals.
The ACB, acting on the complaint, had initiated an inquiry and on December 8 submitted a reply to the government. The reply stated, “The Inquiry found nothing to substantiate allegations against her.” A senior ACB official told The Asian Age they had “closed the inquiry against Munde”.
He added, “We looked into the allegations based on the complaint. We asked the department of women and child development to submit records of all the contracts issued during that period for supply of goods to anganwadis.” He said the department provided reasons as to why tenders had not been issued and the process was followed in the absence of a tender. “We found everything to be in order and submitted a reply accordingly,” he said.
Accusing the ACB of bowing down to pressure, Mr Sawant said, “The Congress had submitted a complaint to the ACB on June 24, 2015 against Munde and then on June 30, 2015 submitted a 1,000-page documentary evidence including electricity bills, bills of raw materials bought and bank account details to the investigators. But for one and a half years they did not do anything and have now closed the inquiry under the CM’s pressure and given her a clean chit.”