BJP minister for Women and Child Welfare in state, Pankaja Munde, has been accused by her cousin and NCP leader Dhananjay Munde of masterminding a Rs 106 crore scam involving mass purchase of cellphones.
“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 party says Pankaja showed a bloated price of the Panasonic Eluga 17 mobile phone while purchasing 1.02 lakh of them for 85,452 Anganwadi centres in 30 districts.
The market price is Rs 6,499 per handset, but Pankaja raised an invoice for Rs 8,777. The Panasonic Eluga 17 mobile is priced between Rs 6,000 to Rs 6,400 online.
Dhananjay, who is also Leader of Opposition in the state, says the company should have been verified before making such a large purchase.
“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.” he added
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.
Interestingly, the Panasonic Eluga 17 was launched in April 2018, but production has stopped since and is not available in the market.
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,” he added.
Despite repeated messages and phone calls, Pankaja remained unreachable for comment. BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye refused to comment on the issue, saying he was unaware of it.