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Case filed in Ahmednagar court against Munde in Chikki scam

Pankaja Munde addresses media

Ahmednagar: A civil case was filed today in a district court at Ahmednagar seeking a direction to the state authorities and Maharashtra Minister Pankaja Munde to ban ‘Chikki’ food stuff sold by a local company to tribal students following reports of alleged contamination of this product with clay and other impurities.

The complaint, filed by Pune-based activist Hemant Patil in the district court of Judge R V Tamankar, has made the District Collector of Ahmednagar, Pankaja Munde and Suryakanta Mahila Chikki Centre, which manufactures ‘Chikki’, as respondents in the case.

“The case was filed today and is posted for hearing after a month,” the complainant’s lawyer Wajid Khan told.

The lawyer urged the court to waive the notices to the respondents in view of the alleged health hazard posed by the inferior Chikki product and prayed for banning the Chikki.

However, the court refused to pass any order without hearing the parties and asked the petitioner to serve notice to the respondents. The hearing has been posted in July-end.

The complaint alleged that 11 lakh packets of Chikki had been distributed in the market after the state had ordered purchase of this food stuff for tribals. Of this, seven lakh packets are still in the market and need to be recalled immediately as reports of contamination have been received by the District Collector.

The complaint also alleged that this batch of Chikki, which was sold in the market, does not contain the manufacture date as well as the expiry date. Hence, there was an urgent need to ban the product in view of the health hazard posed by the Chikki, the complainant alleged.

The same activist had earlier filed a public interest litigation in the Bombay High Court seeking an ACB probe into the Rs 206-crore procurement scam.

The PIL, which is likely to be heard in due course, has prayed for a ACB probe into the ‘scam’ and if, necessary, file an FIR against the minister concerned and government officers who might be involved in the purchase allegedly in violation of rules.

The PIL alleged that the department had ordered purchases of some items such as chikki, mats, books and dishes at a cost of Rs 206 crores without inviting tenders. Besides, all the purchases were ordered in a hurried manner, on a single day, February 13, through 24 Government Resolutions – which was a record of sorts in the state administration.

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