Anna Hazare demands special team to investigate irrigation scam

Activist Anna Hazare has demanded the setting up of a special team to investigate the Rs72,000 crore irrigation scam in Maharashtra, which forced the state's deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar to resign.

He said Pawar claimed that he was innocent, while Vijay Pandhare had explained in detail how corruption had taken place. Hazare added people were confused.

He added that instead of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), a team comprising a retired judge, some well-known social activists and government officials should be formed to investigate the matter.

Vijay Pandhare, chief engineer in Maharashtra's irrigation department, had tipped off chief minister Prithviraj Chavan in writing about the massive financial irregularities in the irrigation department.  Ajit Pawar, Chavan's deputy, resigned on Tuesday over allegations of his involvement in the scandal in a big way.

Pandhare has been given police protection for serving as a whistle-blower.

According to the state's last economic survey, an expenditure of Rs40,000 crore had been incurred for bringing an additional 0.1 per cent of land under irrigation.