Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar resigned on Tuesday over allegations of perpetrating a scam in the irrigation department amounting to Rs 70,000 crore.
Pawar has sent his resignation to State Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. He continues to be the member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
Ready for probe
Announcing his resignation at a press conference, Pawar said he was innocent, adding he was ready for an investigation into the charges.
“I’m ready for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe. Let them find the truth’’, he said.
He added that the Maharashtra Government should come out with a White Paper on the irrigation department and its expenses and that the truth should be placed before the people.
Ajit Pawar maintained that due to his resignation there was no threat to the Maharashtra Government.
He told media persons that he would not accept any ministry positions or post till his name was cleared of all charges, “If I had not resigned, people will think I am guilty and did not want to give up my position,” Pawar said.
A Maharashtra Economic Survey report had held that Rs 70,000 crore was spent by the Irrigation Department to increase the irrigation potential in Maharashtra. While the NCP has held that the investment brought nearly 12 per cent of the State’s area under irrigation, the Congress has held that it would only amount to a mere 0.1 per cent. Chavan had recently announced the setting up of a committee for a white paper on irrigation.
Pawar, in a media statement, also said that the accusations against him of clearing big projects in a hurry were not true. Huge funds are required for implementing irrigation projects in Maharashtra because of its unique geography, he added.