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The Bombay High Court informed by Maharashtra government that a white paper on the alleged multi-crore irrigation scam, involving bureaucrats of Water Resources Department and Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation (KIDC), would be ready within three weeks.

This statement was made by Advocate General Darius Khambata before a division bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Mridula Bhatkar which was hearing a public interest litigation filed by social activist Pravin Wategaonkar seeking a CBI inquiry into the scam.

Khambata said, “A White paper will be ready in this case within three weeks. Based on this we will file an affidavit before the court in reply to the allegations levelled in the petition.”

Wategaonkar in his petition has alleged criminal conspiracy and misconduct on the part of public servants and sought CBI probe in all projects where cost escalations of Rs 20,000 crore were approved across three months in 2009 by the Water Resources Department (WRD).

“It is not mismanagement or ignorance of the WRD but deliberate and well managed act of massive corruption by WRD and KIDC and contractors paid to carry out works associated with these projects,” the petition claims.

Relying on a speech made by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in May this year, Wategaonkar has said, “In the decade beginning with year 2000-01 till 2009-10, the government of Maharashtra has spent about Rs 70,000 crores on irrigation projects. In the next decade the projected cost is Rs 75,000 crores. Probe should be conducted to rein in the unwarranted cost escalations and arbitrariness.”

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