Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole has sparked a raging controversy after he wrote a letter to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray alleging irregularities in the process of selecting a private firm by the Maharashtra State Mining Corporation (MSMC) for the work of supplying coal. Patole has asked for a probe, stating that the private firm is unfit for the tender.
Patole claimed that Rukhmai Infrastructures Private Limited has been selected for the work of washing coal and supplying it to Mahagenco (Maharashtra State Power Generation Company) although the company does not fulfil the criteria. Rukhmai Infrastructures Private Ltd allegedly has ‘links with the State Energy Minister Nitin Raut’, according to Times of India.
In his letter addressed to CM Uddhav Thackeray and state mining minister Subhash Desai, Patole said that the MSMC has allotted a tender to a private company for washing of coal extracted from mines in Vidarbha. He alleged that the company has no past experience, net worth or clearance required for such work. He further added that the firm with the company has a joint venture has been blacklisted by the National Company Law Tribunal.
“Rukhmai Infrastructures was selected by the Maharashtra State Mining Corporation Ltd on May 21 this year. But as per the complaints received, the company has no network, turnover, security clearance and experience in coal washing. Similarly, the company with which Rukhmai infrastructure has a joint venture has been blacklisted by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). Rukhmai infrastructure was given the tender even though it doesn’t fulfil any criteria.” he said.
Sources allege Patole’s demand for the probe is an attempt to target State energy minister Nitin Raut
While Patole clarified that he was not targeting energy minister Nitin Raut, speculations are rife that the demand for a probe was made because the Maharashtra Congress chief was eyeing the cabinet berth currently held by the senior Congress leader.
As per Congress insiders quoted by the Hindustan Times, Patole is interested on having a ministerial berth and has informed the party of his ambitions. He had reportedly asked Congress to appoint Raut as Assembly Speaker, believing that he would get the energy portfolio if Raut is made the Speaker.
Reacting to the demand made by Nana Patole, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis said, “It is quite evident that Patole is eying the portfolio that Raut currently heads. We also are of the opinion that there should be a probe into corruption and we will support it if the issue is raised by Patole at appropriate forums.”
On the other hand, Patole has distanced himself from the claims that the objection raised by him are rooted in his political ambitions. “It has got nothing to do with the energy department or Raut. There are no differences between us and there’s no question of me eyeing the portfolio. The letter is for the probe of irregularities in the mining department,” he said.