New Delhi: Showcasing unique Maratha architecture and spread over a 16,000 square meters in the heart of the national capital, the new Maharashtra Sadan was billed as Maharashtra's pride.
Scheduled for a grand opening by Maharashtra's daughter and outgoing President Pratibha Patil this week, the last of her public appearances in office could well be mired in controversy, at the heart of which is the state's PWD Minister Chaggan Bhujbal.
Bhujbal, as PWD Minister allegedly awarded the contract for building the Sadan to M/S KS Chamankar, in return for which companies run by Bhujbal's kin and associates were awarded sub contracts.
Here's how: Chamankar, who was awarded the contract on a Build Operate Transfer or BOT basis, gave sub contracts to Origin Infrastructure. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs and Registrar of Companies documents accessed by CNN-IBN show two employees of Bhujbal's educational trust MET, Sanjay Joshi and Iram Tanvir, as its directors.
Further, the contract for interiors was awarded to Ideen Furniture Pvt Ltd. Chaggan Bhujbal's daughters-in-law, Shefali and Vishakha Bhujbal, the documents show, are directors in the company.
The financial partner of contractor KS Chmankar was M/S Prime Builders and Developers of one Dhanpat Seth. Seth owns company Royal Enterprises, his associate is one Rajesh Mistry. Here's the Bhujbal connection. Royal Enterprises and Rajesh Mistry gave a total sum of Rs 13 crore between April and May 2008 to Niche Infrastructure as revealed by the bank account details in the documents. Bhujbal's son and nephew - Pankaj and Sameer Bhujbal are directors in Niche Infrastructure.
In his defence, Chaggan Bhujbal said that there was zero loss to the Exchequer because the contract awarded to M/S Chamankar was on a build-operate-transfer basis, which meant the cost of building was borne by the contractor.
On allegations that sub-contracts to companies owned by his kin were kickbacks, Bhujbal said a contract of this nature would involve more than 50 plus sub-contractors and as minister, he wasn't expected to be in the know if companies owned by his kin were given contracts.
A complaint has been filed with the states anti-corruption bureau, a copy of which has been sent to President Patil with an appeal not to associate with the opening of what the Opposition calls an edifice of corruption.