Nitin Gadkari
Sanjay Kholapurkar former Officer on Special Duty to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has been chargesheeted in the multi-crore Vidarbha irrigation scam.[Representational Image] In Picture: Nitin GadkariReuters

Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari's officer on special duty (OSD) has been named in the chargesheet filed by Maharashtra anti-corruption bureau (ACB) in Gosikhurd irrigation scam. The 6,434-page chargesheet was submitted in the court of special ACB judge K G Rathi. Gadkari's OSD Sanjay Kholapurkar, who was the then superintending engineer, and five others officials of Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) have been named.

The four other officials are former Executive Director of VIDC Rohidas Landge, then chief engineer Sopan Suryawanshi, then executive engineer Ramesh Wardhane and senior divisional accounts officer Gurudas Mandavkar. Along with the VIDC officials, Nisar Fateh Mohammad Khatri of Mumbai's FA Constructions was also named in the chargesheet.

The chargesheet is related to irregularities in over Rs 100-crore work of the Ghodazari branch of the Left Bank Canal (LBC) of Gosikhurd dam.

Sanjay Kholapurkar was not named in the FIR lodged by the ACB in February. The names of four partners of FA Constructions — Nisar Khatri's father Fateh Mohammad Khatri, mother Jaitun Fateh Khatri and brothers Abid and Jahid were mentioned. The four were let off by the High Court after it accepted their defence where they claimed that they had given the power of attorney to Nisar.

SP Sanjay Darade of the ACB also confirmed the developments and said that five other irrigation officers and a contractor have been booked for committing various irregularities. "The officials illegally revised the tender cost by Rs 7.38 crore, thereby causing a loss to the VIDC. The then VIDC executive director approved the revision and thus illegally benefitted the contractor," Darade was quoted as saying by Times of India.

"Landge, Kholapurkar and Mandavkar were found to be responsible for causing a loss of Rs 7,38,60,000 to the state government by giving a rebate of up to 15 per cent instead of the permitted five per cent in the tender update process. Kholapurkar recommended the hike, Landge accepted it and Mandavkar consented to it," investigating officer Milind Totre added.