Maharashtra Lokayukta Orders Probe Into ‘₹100 Crore Irregularities’ At Skill Body

Maharashtra Lokayukta Orders Probe Into ‘₹100 Crore Irregularities’ At Skill Body

After the issue reached Lokayukta, he sought a response from the government, which informed him that the chief minister had directed that the officials be allowed to file their say.

Musab QaziUpdated: Tuesday, June 25, 2024, 12:02 AM IST
article-image
Lokayukta Orders Probe Into ‘₹100 Crore Irregularities’ At Skill Body | FPJ

The Maharashtra Lokayukta has ordered the state government to conduct a probe into the alleged financial irregularities at the Directorate of Vocational Education and Training (DVET) between 2011 and 2014.

In a recent order, Lokayukta Justice VM Kanade said that prima facie it appears that Rs100 crore was drawn by DVET officials to purchase equipment and machinery without following the tender process, and no plausible explanation was given for doing so. The state chief secretary has been directed to appoint a retired judge of the Bombay High Court to conduct an enquiry, while also referring the matter to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). A compliance report has to be submitted within eight weeks.

The ombudsman was hearing a complaint by JD Bhutange, a former DVET director, who claimed that Vijay Kumar Gautam, his successor at the directorate, Anil Jadhav, a joint director and several other officials at the state body are involved in the ‘scam’ that ostensibly took place during the financial years 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14.

The complainant has also alleged that instead of acting against the purported culprits, the state has appointed them to various positions, even as some of them have retired from government service. While Gautam has retired, Jadhav was suspended from his position for more than a year, but he resumed his duties in March this year.

Bhutange had first raised the issue of alleged irregularities in 2014, following which the state formed a probe committee in 2017. After the panel failed to submit a report, another committee was constituted in 2019. However, even the second panel is yet to present its findings. Despite assurances from the government in the state legislature and the High Court, the issue is far from resolved.

After the issue reached Lokayukta, he sought a response from the government, which informed him that the chief minister had directed that the officials be allowed to file their say. Later, the government told the ombudsman that the accused were not ‘co-operating’.

Jadhav, however, claimed that the allegations against him and others are ‘baseless’ and that Bhutange has a vested interest in his complaint. “We had asked the government to share with us the relevant documents on whose basis complaints were made. However, we haven’t been given those documents. We will submit a reply after we get them. Most of these allegations are very generalised, with nothing specific in it.”

He added, “It’s a good thing now that ACB and a retired judge will be looking into the matter. Facts will be revealed.”

RECENT STORIES

Mira-Bhayandar: Senior MBMC Officer Files FIR Over Online Harassment Amid Demolition Drive

Mira-Bhayandar: Senior MBMC Officer Files FIR Over Online Harassment Amid Demolition Drive

Bombay HC Orders Non-Consenting Housing Society Members To Vacate In 2-Weeks Or Pay ₹5 Lakh Fine...

Bombay HC Orders Non-Consenting Housing Society Members To Vacate In 2-Weeks Or Pay ₹5 Lakh Fine...

Maharashtra: Govt Announces Financial Aid Of ₹50 Lakh Each For 6 Athletes Selected For Paris...

Maharashtra: Govt Announces Financial Aid Of ₹50 Lakh Each For 6 Athletes Selected For Paris...

Maharashtra: VBA To Launch 'Aarakshan Bachao Janyatra' On Reservation Issues Starting July 25

Maharashtra: VBA To Launch 'Aarakshan Bachao Janyatra' On Reservation Issues Starting July 25

Mumbai: Tax Consultant Accused Of Money Laundering In ₹263 Crore TDS Refund Scam Involving IT...

Mumbai: Tax Consultant Accused Of Money Laundering In ₹263 Crore TDS Refund Scam Involving IT...