Maharashtra’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) office in Amravati too has filed an affidavit before the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, exonerating former state Deputy Chief Minister and Water Resources Minister Ajit Pawar of any wrongdoing in the irrigation projects under its jurisdiction.
Like its Nagpur counterpart, which filed an affidavit before the High Court on November 27 — a day before the new Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress dispensation took office in the state — giving a clean chit to NCP leader Ajit Pawar, ACB SP, Amravati, Shrikant Dhivre too filed an affidavit before the High Court the same day, stating that the ACB hadn’t found anything to put blame of the alleged multi-crore irrigation scam on Pawar.
The wording of the affidavit is exactly the same as the one submitted by Nagpur ACB SP Rashmi Nandedkar.
The ACB has said it relied primarily on three letters from the Water Resources Department of the then BJP-led government which were received in the past six months. The clean chit came a day before the Sena-NCP-Congress combine Maha Vikas Aghadi government was sworn in. Also, the latest affidavit appears to differ with the affidavit filed by the ACB last November that had said that Pawar had intervened in the process of award of contracts for irrigation projects.
ACB chief Param Bir Singh refused to comment on why the two affidavits filed within a a year appeared to differ. He said, ‘All the reasons behind our findings are mentioned in the affidavit.’ Mumbai Police commissioner and the then ACB chief Sanjay Barve, who filed the earlier affidavit on November 26, 2018 apprising the court of investigations in the case till that point, did not respond to calls or messages.
On filing of the affidavit on November 28, a day before the Maha Vikas Aghadi government was sworn in, an ACB officer said they had been told to file an affidavit about the progress of investigation before November 28 by the Nagpur bench of the High Court.
‘The fact that the political developments happened around the same time has nothing to do with the affidavit. It was based on letters we received over the past six months,’ the officer said.
On the different findings of the two affidavits, the officer said the latest affidavit was based on three letters received during the current year.
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