BJP MLA in dock,High Court asks govt to clear its stand

The Gujarat High Court ordered the state government to clear its stand on initiating criminal proceedings against BJP MLA Shankar Chaudhary and other responsible persons for misusing the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund given after the 2001 earthquake.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published:July 21, 2012 3:05 am

The Gujarat High Court on Friday ordered the state government to clear its stand on initiating criminal proceedings against BJP MLA Shankar Chaudhary and other responsible persons for misusing the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) given after the 2001 earthquake.

A division bench comprising Justices Akil Kureshi and Harsha Devani gave the direction while acting on a petition moved by Patan-based Congress worker Farsu Goklani.

According to details,following a petition moved by Goklani in 2007,the HC had found in 2010 that a trust owned by the Radhanpur MLA had misused an amount of Rs 21.01 lakh that was granted to repair a school building damaged in the quake.

The court later ordered the trust to pay the amount back with the interest of 10 per cent. Imposing a fine of Rs 25,000 jointly on Chaudhary and his trust — Shri Swami Vivekanand Vikas Mandal (SSVVM) — the HC had directed the government to initiate criminal proceedings by the CID (Crime) in this connection.

Following the order,Chaudhary’s trust deposited the money with the government.

However,the government did not implement the order to the extent of initiating criminal proceedings against responsible persons.

Subsequently,Goklani moved the HC again with a prayer to get the order implemented.

The government today produced an affidavit of the concerned officer of the Education Department and said it had appointed a senior IAS officer to inquire into the matter and initiate criminal proceedings against responsible officials.

Goklani’s counsel Jal Unwala said they opposed this government resolution on the ground that it was with reference to only government officials,which will not include Chaudhary.

“We told the court that the inquiry should be held to initiate criminal proceedings against all the responsible persons,including Chaudhary. Following this,the court asked the government to make its stand clear on the issue,” said Unwala.

Further hearing has been posted for July 27.

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