Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has found prima facie evidence of corruption worth Rs 6,000 crore in purchases of materials relating to tribal development schemes. The court has handed over investigation into the alleged corruption case to the CBI.
The CBI after preliminary investigation told the High Court that it appeared to be a huge scam and requested the court to set up a Special Investigation Team for probe. There have been allegations a that several big political leaders are also involved in the scam.
The matter came to light when a RTI activist started to collect information related to tribal development work. When he came to know about the corruption, he filed an FIR but the police could not find any evidence to suggest corruption. The RTI activist then filed a PIL in the High Court requesting for a CBI probe.
IBN7 also visited three districts in Maharashtra to enquire about the entire matter. Tolabai Desai, a tribal residing in Sabarwardi Padya in Sakri taluka of Dhule district, is a beneficiary of the scheme. According to the documents, his name is there on the distribution of cow-buffaloes form under serial number 196 he has not received any help for the past few years. Water pumps were also to be distributed under the scheme and according to another tribal Ram Shawan, he filled up a form and even paid Rs 200 but got no assistance.
The scheme was implemented in 28 districts from 2004 to 2010 for the development of tribals. The Central government released funds for tribal development which was to be used for the scheme through the Ministry of Tribal Welfare.
It is being alleged that during when Vijay Kumar Gavit was the tribal welfare minister of Maharashtra almost Rs 12,000 crore was released out of which Rs 6,000 crore were siphoned off. Gavit is now Maharashtra Medical Education Minister. Gavit refused to comment despite repeated attempts by IBN7 to contact him.
Even Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan refused to comment by saying the matter was sub judice. But the Bombay High Court has asked the Chief Minister to explain how come he was unaware about the siphoning off of thousands of crores of rupees in the name of tribal welfare. The CBI is a report to the High Court has said that the scam is worth Rs 6000 crore.