Maharashtra Education Minister charged with corruption

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Vinod Tawde
Vinod Tawde

Second in the row of corrupt of ministers in the BJP led Maharashtra government, Vinod Tawde, has been charged over a controversy for awarding a contract for fire extinguishers in schools, allegedly without tender. Tawde handles the ministry of Education in the seven month old BJP government of Maharashtra. This happened immediately after the Minister for Women and Child Welfare Development, Pankaja Munde, was accused by the opposition of a nearly Rs 200 crore scam.

The finance department of Maharashtra had stopped an order issued by Tawde’s ministry to purchase fire extinguishers worth Rs 191 crore for government run schools, earlier in January, by citing that the Supreme Court order makes the fire extinguisher mandatory for the school buildings, more than a floor high.

Sources have also said that only 19 crores were sanctioned to purchase fire extinguishers for schools.  “The Finance Department has raised objections, we are clarifying to them on the issue,” said Tawde. “I have not given a single rupee to any contractor,”  he added.

Maharashtra’s Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, said that, there is no cause for controversy regarding the issue.

“The Finance Ministry raised objections based on Supreme Court guidelines. This is an old file. The Education Minister himself had stopped the file after the objection. This is a conspiracy to defame the government,” said  Mungantiwar.

The Fadnavis led BJP government of Maharashtra had also supported Pankaja Munde, after the Congress alleged that she had violated the rules earlier this year  for a transparent tendering process, while sanctioning contracts. The allegation was that she issued the contract without any tender, for items like snacks, books and water filters, for government run schools, for tribal children.

Both the ministers denied the charges against them, even though BJP’s partner in Maharashtra governance, Shiv Sena, identified the charges against Munde as ‘serious’.

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