The Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau on Wednesday gave a clean chit to the state’s Women and Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde in a Rs 206-crore corruption case known as the chikki scam. The Bharatiya Janata Party leader was accused of violating rules for a transparent online bidding process and sanctioning inflated deals for the supply of items for government-run schools.
The ACB has sent the case’s closure report to the state government. “There was noting to substantiate the allegations against her,” an official told PTI. In reaction to the outcome of the investigation, Munde said, “I had repeated many times that there was no substance in the allegations. On several occasions in the Legislative Assembly also, I had replied to the charges.”
In June 2015, a spokesperson for the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee, Sachin Sawant, had lodged a complaint with the ACB, demanding an inquiry into the claims against Munde. The Congress had accused Munde of flouting procedures while awarding contracts for the supply of items such as chikkis (a traditional Indian sweet), notebooks, water filters, etc, for schoolchildren in rural and tribal areas.
The party had also claimed that one of the contracts to supply chikkis was given to Suryakanta Mahila Audyogik Sanstha for Rs 113 crore without the required process being followed. Sawant had alleged that he had “submitted evidence to the ACB” against Munde, who had dismissed the charges against her as completely baseless.