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Maharashtra: BJP Minister Pankaja Munde Accused of Rs 106 Crore Scam

The alleged scam pertains to the purchase of smartphones at an inflated price by the rural development ministry headed by Munde.

Pankaja Munde, Rural Development Minister in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in Maharashtra, has been accused of engineering a Rs 106 crore scam involving purchase of smartphones. The accusation has been levelled by her estranged cousin and Nationalist Congress party leader Dhananjay Munde, reported Dainik Bhaskar.

Dhananjay has alleged that the Panasonic Eluga 17 smartphone, which is available in the market at about Rs 6,000, has been purchased by the rural development department at an inflated price of Rs 8,777 per unit from a Bengaluru-based company. Around 1.20 lakh smartphones were purchased for Anganwadi centres across the state.

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“When we raised our voice suspecting the procedure, the issue was kept pending. But, now just before the elections Rs 106 crore is spent for the purchase of mobiles which would be available for Rs 30 to 40 crore,” he told reporters during a press conference, reported DNA.

The leader of the opposition in the state assembly further alleged, “Mobile phones with better specifications are available at cheaper rates in the market. We should know why they were purchased at such a high price. The model, which the company supplied, is also not available in the open market, which makes repair work difficult. Its production was stopped four months ago,” reported Mid-day.

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Dhananjay also accused Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for protecting the corrupt ministers, and questioning the financial worth of the company he reportedly said, “The firm has a share capital of just R5.50 crore and paid-up capital of only Rs 4.92 crore. However, despite bringing the matter to the chief minister’s notice, the purchase order was processed. The CM is protecting his corrupt ministers.”

The NCP leader has demanded a Judicial Commission to investigate the alleged scam. “The company’s postal address was not provided in the tender documents,” he reportedly said.

The ministry allegedly rejected the cheaper Made in India smartphone offer instead bought inflated outdated smartphone, reported DNA.

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