Free Press Journal

I just tried breaking contractors lobby: 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)

New Delhi: Accused of involvement in a ‘scam’ for clearing purchases worth Rs 206 crore without inviting tenders, Maharashtra Minister Pankaja Munda today shot back, claiming her efforts to break the hold of contractors’ lobby on the Women and Child Development (WCD Department had provoked such accusations.

She also demanded that those who have made the allegations come up with proof to substantiate the charges. “Where is the proof?” she asked, and claimed no procedures were overlooked by the department.

“There is a big, huge lobby of contractors in this department. I think, for years they have been running this department. And somewhere I am breaking that. I am doing strict inspection, I am doing strict categorisation of these activities and that is why somewhere this is happening and that is what I am very very clear about,” the Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister claimed.

“What they are talking is vague. They are saying all Rs 206 crores I am spending is all scam. I am not here to do scam, I am here to help those kids. I am here to prove myself,” Munde told a TV channel from London.

The minister said she respected the questions raised by the opposition and written replies have already been given. “I am not here to contaminate or favour someone or give someone some contract, I am here to deliver for those kids,” Munde said, emphasising that she worked and cared for children even before becoming a minister.

Maharashtra Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant had earlier this week submitted a complaint to the Anti-Corruption Bureau alleging violations in purchases made by WCD department. Munde was alleged to have cleared purchases worth Rs 206 crore on a single day in February through 24 Government Resolutions instead of inviting tenders.

All government purchases in Maharashtra above Rs three lakh are mandated to be made after inviting e-tenders.