Chief Engineer Water Resources Vijay Pandhare, who blew the lid off the Maharashtra irrigation scam, has said that the nexus between contractors and politicians exists in all states.
In an interview to CNN-IBN, he said that while most were aware of the corruption levels within the state governments, most chose to overlook it out of fear.
Below is an edited transcript of the interview.
CNN-IBN: In response to the letter you wrote to the Chief Minister and the Governor (of Maharashtra), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has said you are "mentally unstable" which is why you are making these "wild and baseless charges".
Vijay Pandhare: If I was mentally retarded or unbalanced, then actually my mental test should have been carried out and I should have been removed from service. I should have been asked to explain why I've done like that but I have received no letter of explanation from the government.
CNN-IBN: You've refused to name anybody but how high up does the collusion, the contractor-politician nexus, go?
Vijay Pandhare: Everybody knows it. It's not only in Maharashtra but throughout India. When we meet in conferences etc, the engineers, we find that it's the same in all the states.
CNN-IBN: That then leads me to the question - despite this going on for years, why is it that it almost went unnoticed or is it that there is a powerful vested interest and there is fear?
Vijay Pandhare: It was not unnoticed. Everybody knew about it. Those who are concerned, those who were directly related to these works knew about it. But nobody dared to speak about it. Everybody was under pressure.