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Maharashtra government has spent Rs three crore in the last two and half years on the administrative expenses of the Justice M G Gaikwad committee, probing an alleged scam in the Tribal Affairs Department during the previous Congress-NCP regime. According to a Government Resolution (GR) issued recently, the committee has been given a last extension of six months and is required to submit its report within the time frame. The panel was instituted to conduct an enquiry into an Rs 6,000 crore scam in the Tribal Affairs Department in the tenure of then NCP leader and Tribal Minister Vijaykumar Gavit who is now a BJP MLA. "We have given an extension for the last time as the committee has already spent two-and-a-half years in probing the alleged scam," Principal Secretary, Tribal Welfare Department Rajgopal Deora said. When asked about money spent so far by the government on the committee, Deora said, "State government has spent more than Rs 3 crore in the last two and half years on the remuneration of the staff of the Commission and office expenses." The five-member committee was appointed by the government on 15 April, 2014, upon an order of the Bombay High Court on March 27, 2014, during the hearing of a PIL.
The committee has its office in Nashik.The PIL had alleged that the Tribal Welfare Department made purchases without calling for tenders and the amounts shown as disbursed towards tribal welfare were actually siphoned off. It was alleged that the money was siphoned in between 2004-09 in the purchase of various items for curbing malnutrition, distribution of milch animals to tribals etc. The GR also made it clear that no further extension will be given to the committee as it has already granted several extensions as and when asked.