Sanjay Kulkarni, former executive director of the North Maharashtra Irrigation Development Corporation, is among several senior irrigation officials whose name appeared in the multi-crore irrigation scam over alleged corruption in awarding contracts and other irregularities between 1999 and 2014 during the reign of Congress-NCP.
Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil said he was not sure Kulkarni was accused of the scam. However, Kulkarni himself admitted that he was among the nearly 100 senior officials in the irrigation department who are under control, while the anti-corruption office has confirmed that an FIR has been registered against senior officials of the Irrigation Department. irrigation, including Kulkarni.
The state government had established a high-level committee headed by Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar to review the list of candidates for the post of MWRRA member. The list of shortlisted candidates was submitted to Raj Bhavan, who approved Kulkarni’s name. “We followed the due process for the member’s appointment,” Patil said, while Kulkarni also said his appointment was in accordance with the law. Patil was sworn in to Kulkarni in a brief ceremony in Mantralaya.
Two months after Devendra Fadnavis took over the reins of state in 2014, he authorized the ACB to conduct an open investigation into the irrigation scam, in particular against NCP leaders Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare, who held the portfolio of water resources between 2001. and 2014. In 2018, the CEO of ACB led an investigation into the Mahagaon irrigation project in Yavatmal. A special investigation team subsequently registered one case alleging irregularities in the project. “An offense has been registered against a large number of officials, including Kulkarni. An investigation is underway, but no indictment has been filed in the case,” said a senior ACB official.
The ACB filed more than half a dozen FIRs in Thane, Nagpur and Amravati, but they were unable to book a single politician. “In 2014, the irrigation scam was the voting board of the BJP, but so far only the heads of the water resources department have been retained. The responsibility has not been attributed to any politician.” , said a senior official.