Mumbai: Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar on Thursday accused the government of trying to cover up DGIPR scam and demanded the immediate suspension of the guilty officials without supporting the accused in this case.
In the information and public relations department, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Chief Minister, advertisements worth around Rs. 500 crores have been given by various departments during the Fadnavis government without the approval of Chief Minister.
“This is serious irregularity and malpractice. Due to lack of approval, the bills of 2019-20 to be paid to the concerned advertising agency have been withheld by the Finance Department.
Now, attempts are being made to cover up this scam by ordering the payment of bills with post-function permission of the Chief Minister, this is a serious matter,” said Pawar.
The administrative departments of the state have fixed the procedure for preparing media materials from the Directorate General of Information and Public Relations (DGIPR) to advertise the government schemes.
Accordingly, approval of the Chief Minister is mandatory for the plan.
However, during the Fadnavis government, not a single department took the approval of the Chief Minister for the media plan of 2019-20. Departments gave advertisements worth more than Rs 500 crores without taking the approval of the Chief Minister.
In 2019, there were general elections to the Vidhan Sabha. During that time, various government departments did a lot of publicity about the decisions taken and works done by the then Fadnavis government in 5 years.
After this scam came to notice, the then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said, ‘Action has been taken without the approval of the competent authority,he further said.
The order was given to the Chief Secretary to investigate the matter in detail at his level and submit a report. Chief Secretary inquired about this. The then Principal Secretary and Joint Secretary of the Social Justice Department, the then Director General and former Director of Information and Public Relations, along with 8 high-ranking officials were ordered to be investigated.
Advertisements worth more than Rs 500 crores were given in the information and public relations department by commenting that ‘Chief Minister has been informed’. The Additional Director General of Police, currently working as Principal Secretary in the Chief Minister’s Office, the then Principal Secretary of the Social Justice Department, has been blamed for serious irregularities.
Due to lack of approval, the bills of 2019-20 to be paid to the concerned advertising agency have been withheld by the Finance Department. Now the current Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has given a different order and is covering up this scam,he added.