The fresh allegation against a Maharashtra Minister comes close on the heels of a similar charge against Women and Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde.
    
The Finance Department has sought a probe into the irregularities pertaining to a contract awarded by the School Education Department for buying fire extinguishers without e-tendering for Zilla Parishad schools across the state.
    
The contract, cleared by Tawde, has been put on hold after the Finance Department objected to it. Tawde, a high profile BJP member in the Devendra Fadnavis cabinet, refuted the allegation as did Munde last week about charges hurled at her by the Opposition Congress.
    
"Not a single rupee has been paid to contractors. We stopped the order immediately after the Finance Department raised objections," Tawde told reporters today.
    
On February 11, the department issued a government resolution authorising the office of the Education Director (Primary) to enter into a rate contract for supply of 62,105 fire extinguishers for Zilla Parishad schools across the state.
    
Each fire extinguisher was to be procured at a price of Rs 8,321 and each school was to be provided three pieces.
    
Meanwhile, top BJP ministers in the Devendra Fadnavis-led government in Maharashtra today rushed to defend Tawde, who maintained that there was no wrongdoing on his part in the alleged Rs 191 crore scam.

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