Mumbai Raincoat scam surfaces in tribal welfare department

Why tribal students in Ashram Shalas haven’t got raincoats as yet, asks Oppn

Mumbai: Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Radha Krishna Vikhe Patil demanded formation of SIT to investigate into what he termed as the ‘Raincoat Scam’ in the tribal welfare department. However, the minister Vishnu Savara denied any corruption in the case.

Former minister Hasan Mushrif (NCP), who raised the issue in the Lower House through a calling attention notice, asked why tribal students in Ashram Shalas (residential schools for tribal students) haven’t got raincoats even when the rains have started.

“There are 2.75 lakh students in 529 such Ashram Shalas across the state. It has been two months since the schools started, but these students are yet to get raincoats,” he said.

“As per norms, the process of e-tendering should have been followed in the purchase of raincoats. However, it was not done,” he added and said, there is a scam in the purchase and the ACB should prove it.

Former Assembly Speaker Dilip Walse Patil sought to know why headmasters have been given powers to purchase raincoats costing up to Rs 3 lakh.

Vikhe Patil presented documents regarding the alleged irregularities in the case and demanded that and SIT should be formed to investigate into the scam.

Several of the procurements in the department have violated norms and there is a big scam, he told media later.

“The department had invited e-tenders for procuring rain coats. Due to delay the process was cancelled on June 16, 2016 and the school principals were authorised to carry on the purchases. However, they were later forced to purchase the rain coats from certain vendors and that is why the High Court put a stay on the purchase and lashed out at the government,” Vikhe Patil said.

The minister did not deny the facts, but maintained that there was no corruption involved in the case and the entire process was transparent. He also assured the house that strict action would be taken against erring officials and that adequate precautionary measures have been taken regarding purchase of sweaters for the winter season. “The students would get the sweaters well within time after the purchase procedures are properly completed,” the minister said.

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