Final hearing on petition against clean chit to Ajit Pawar in irrigation scam on Feb 13
Pawar filed an affidavit before the court on Tuesday in which he denied any wrongdoing.
The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing is the irrigation scam case in which Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar was given a clean chit by the anti-corruption bureau last month. The division bench comprising Justice Sunil Shukre and Justice Madhav Jagtap has said that final hearing will be done on February 13.
Pawar had on Tuesday filed an affidavit before the high court seeking dismissal of ‘meritless’ Public Interest Litigations (PILs) filed against him for his alleged role in multi-crore scam.
Challenging the clean chit given to Pawar by the ACB in December 2019, two PILs were filed before the high court stating that they had no faith in the ACB and hence the inquiry should be handed over either to Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or an enquiry commission to be headed by a retired Supreme Court or high court judge.
However, in his first detailed affidavit in the irrigation scam, Pawar charged petitioner Atul Jagtap of having a personal vendetta and an attempt to malign his image while asserting his constitutional right to remain silent in not answering all questions put forth by ACB. “I have not indulged in any corrupt, malafide or motivated act while discharging my duties as minister,” Pawar claimed while denying all charges of wrongdoings and presiding over a regime favouring a handful of contractors with the help of pliant officials.
“Every decision has been taken as per law and in line with procedures and I have not favoured anyone. All contracts were awarded by the department in accordance with rules and did not warrant my interference,” Pawar claimed while denying repeated violation of rules of business.
I am not accused in any of the cases, nor is there any evidence against me, Pawar claimed in his affidavit while slamming the petitioner for trying to portray him as the mastermind of irrigation scam. Describing Jagtap as a contractor, Pawar questioned his locus standi in filing the PIL and trying to level serious allegations of corruption against him.
Strongly opposing the prayer made by Jan Manch (the other petitioner) and Jagtap to appoint a judicial inquiry commission and to hand over the probe to ED or CBI, Pawar claimed that the investigation was going in the right direction and extensively quoted from the successive affidavits of the ACB to prove progress in the matter. Pointing out that courts have limited powers to interfere in the on-going investigations, Pawar pointed out that there was no need to disbelieve the ACB and it has conducted the probe without favour and fear and indeed interrogated him extensively.