Free Press Journal

Chikki Scam: Ready to quit if proven guilty: Pankaja Munde


Pankaja MundeBEED, INDIA - APRIL 7: Pankaja Munde Palwe daughter of BJP candidate and incumbent MP from Beed, Gopinath Munde addressing election rally on April 7, 2014 in Beed, India. The poling is scheduled on April 7. (Photo by Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Mumbai: Facing fresh allegation of flouting rules in awarding contract to build a dam besides the Rs 206 ‘purchase’ scam, Maharashtra Minister Pankaja Munde rubbished the charges as mere “scam of words” and said she will step down if found guilty of any charge. Munde, who was away in London last week when the opposition Congress accused her of brazen violation of norms in awarding contracts for purchase of ‘chiki’ and a host of other items for anganwadis, said there was a “politic lly motivated” move by the opposition to target her when she was not “physically available to defend herself.”

“All the allegations leveled against me by the opposition are nothing but political in nature, which were purposely brought out when I could not be physically present to put forth my explanation. “It seems that people (opposition) want to somehow prove that there is a scam brewing when there is nothing like this happening in the government,” Munde, daughter of late BJP stalwart Gopinath Munde, said at her first press meet after returning home.

“The day it is proved that I am guilty of any wrongdoing, I would not consider myself worth holding any government position, let alone the charge of this very important department,” she said.

Munde, who is also in charge of Water Conservation, refuted the allegation of flouting norms in awarding a contract to build a dam in Jalna district to a private company headed by Ratnakar Gutte, a functionary of Rashtriya Samaj Paksh (RSP), an ally of the BJP-led alliance and a close associate of the Munde family.

“There have been pictures of me with Ratnakar Gutte floating the media. These pictures do not mean anything. He (Gutte) has only joined the RSP a few months back and we had met at some function where the picture was taken. But this does not mean I have in any way favoured this person.

“We have given all the rights of approvals to district collectors and I have not interfered in any of their decisions,” Munde said. She also displayed several pictures of Gutte with other NCP leaders.