Maharashtra Women and Child Development Minister Pankaja Munde, who is in the eye of the storm after being accused of flouting norms for procuring goods worth Rs 206 crore, has rejected allegations of scam being leveled against her.
Clarifying that rules weren’t violated and the purchase orders/contracts were given as per government rate contracts, Pankaja, daughter of late BJP leader Gopinath Munde, said, “There was no violation of rules. The purchase orders/contracts were given as per government rate contracts. There was no question of e-tendering as e-tendering GR (government resolution) was issued on April 17. The purchase orders were given in February.”
“My family has gone through a lot in the last two years, and now these allegations make me sad. I feel I should be given a chance to explain,” the BJP MLA from Parli in Maharashtra’s Beed district said.
The minister also slammed people demanding her resignation, and said people should refrain from sensationalising things without verifying facts. “As a minister, I took some dynamic decision to reduce corruption, which has irked many. I had promised my father that I will always do the best for those who trust me. Sensationalising anything without proper information can also destroy people’s trust in the system,” Pankaja said.
According to reports, the Maharashtra women and child development department procured goods worth Rs 206 crore without following the set guidelines. According to government rules, ministries placing order above Rs 3 lakh must do so through the e-tendering process. However, Pankaja, allegedly cleared 24 purchase orders to buy chikki, mats and books for anganwadi schools in a single day without inviting tenders.
A blame game has already begun over the alleged scam with the Congress demanding immediate resignation from Pankaja, daughter of late BJP leader Gopinath Munde. The BJP, on the other hand, said it is too early for the party to comment on the issue as it is yet to verify scam reports.
Former chief minister and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan demanded a CBI inquiry and said the scam exposed the true colours of the government.
“Be it Pankaja Munde or Vinod Tawade, this government would not remove anyone. After all, this is the policy of the Modi government to brazen out all allegations. The scam has exposed the real character of this government. The minister (Pankaja) must give an explanation on the issue,” Chavan said.
“It is shocking that a Rs 206-crore scam has come to light. The minister, Pankaja Munde, should step down and a proper enquiry should he conducted. There were contracts which were given without tendering. If the CM is guilty, he should also be probed,” said Maharashtra Congress leader Sachin Sawant.
When asked about the issue, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, “I am not aware of the case yet. Let us first ascertain facts. Not sure if media reports are right. Let me first know what is the case all about.”