Mumbai: Dhananjay Munde, who is also Leader of Opposition in the state, and a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, has accused BJP Minister for Women and Child Welfare in the state, Pankaja Munde, of masterminding the Rs 106 crore scam involving in the mass purchase of cellphones.
Pankaja Munda, minister of Rural Development in Maharashtra, had bought Panasonic Eluga 17 mobile phone for 85,452 Anganwadi centres spread across 30 districts. The NCP minister accuses Panakaja of bloating the bill. The handset had the market price of Rs 6,499 per set, but Pankaja raised an invoice for Rs 8,777, alleged the NCP leader .
“Earlier, nearly 1.20 lakh phones of the same specification were to be purchased for ₹46 crore. Now, the purchase of the mobile phones has been approved ahead of the upcoming general elections and the price has increased to ₹106 crore”, Dhananjay said.
“The smartphones were purchased for Information Computer Technology enabled Real-Time Monitoring (ICT-RTM) scheme. The mobiles were distributed to Anganwadi workers along with SIM cards and data plan,” said the Government Resolution issued on February 28, 2019. The Women and Child Development department further purchased 5,100 additional handsets as spares, which Pankaja bought from Bangalore-based M/s Systech IT Solution, Pvt Ltd.
Dhananjay, said that the company should have been verified before a large a purchase as this was to be made. “The company’s postal address was not provided in the tender documents,” he said. “Besides, the government did not negotiate at all. If the same model can be bought for Rs 6,499, why have they bought it at such a steep price? Something is fishy and needs to be probed,” the leader claimed.
Dhananjay has accused M/s Systech IT Solution of selling unsold stock to the government. “Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis should immediately stop this purchase, and a probe committee should be set up,” Dhananjay said.
It is noteworthy that the Panasonic Eluga 17 was launched in April 2018, but production has stopped since and is not available in the market.