Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis, said Thursday that a probe has been ordered into the purchase of 18 Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs) by the previous MVA government, allegedly at an inflated price of Rs three crore each during the pandemic.
The vehicles, called “Devdoot,” were purchased in 2020–21 fiscal by the relief and rehabilitation department, which was then headed by Congress Minister Vijay Wadettiwar. The vehicles are said to be equipped to respond quickly in the event of a natural calamity. Fadnavis, who holds the finance and home portfolios in the current dispensation, told ANI that a probe has been ordered into the alleged scam after media reports said that the vehicles were purchased at a higher price than their actual cost. The vehicles cost Rs 54 crore in total.
“The tender was issued by the Relief and Rehabilitation Department. In July 2020, minister Vijay Wadettiwar had written that it was very necessary to provide RRVs to 16 municipal corporations, the NDRF, and the SDRF,” one of the sources said.
“However, the finance department, at that time led by Ajit Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party, objected to the purchase since the state was facing a very tight fiscal situation due to the pandemic. Despite the objection, the RRVs were purchased,” the source added.
Recently, BJP leader and Maharashtra Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar too demanded a detailed inquiry into the suspected scam.
The previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government comprised the Shiv Sena, the Congress, and the Nationalist Congress Party. Former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray led it.