Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar quits

Last Updated: Tue, Sep 25, 2012 12:42 hrs

Mumbai: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar today resigned following allegations of an irrigation scam when he was state's water resource minister and said he was prepared for a CBI probe.

"I have sent my resignation to the Chief Minister's office. He will forward it to the Governor for acceptance," Pawar, nephew of Union Minister and NCP President Sharad Pawar, told a hurriedly called press conference.

Pawar, however, said he will continue to be the leader of NCP legislature party as long as he enjoyed the support of the legislators.

Pawar, who held Finance and Energy portfolios in the Prithviraj Chavan government, said he would not accept any post till his name is "cleared".

"People are jealous of the rise of NCP," he said, in an apparent reference to ally Congress with which his party has had an uneasy relation for the last several years.

Pawar said he has recommended that the Energy portfolio held by him be given to NCP minister Rajesh Tope and Finance to Jayant Patil.

There have been reports in the media that Pawar, who was Water Resource Minister for a decade between 1999 and 2009, had approved 38 projects worth Rs 20,000 crore in 2009 without clearance of Governing Council of Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC).

According to reports, Pawar and VIDC executive director approved the projects without placing it before the governing council comprising state's Chief Secretary and officials of the finance, planning agriculture and water resource departments for deliberation and clearance, as mandated under the rules.

It has also been alleged that tenders were approved at inflated rates but Pawar has flatly refuted the charges.

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