The BJPs breakaway faction the Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP) is all set for its first public show of opposition to the Prem Kumar Dhumal government with the party planning to hold a two-hour long symbolic dharna outside the Raj Bhawan on Monday to seek the dismissal of the state government for undue favours and its questionable links with the Jaypee group.
Party president Maheshwar Singh told a press conference here on Sunday that the HLP would submit a memorandum to Governor Urmila Singh highlighting irregularities committed by the BJP government in sanctioning the thermal power plant and regularising illegal cement plant of the Jaiparkash Associates limited (JAL) at Bagheri in Solan district.
The Green bench of the Himachal Pradesh High Court had,earlier this month,imposed a penalty of Rs 100 crore on the company for environmental and land violations besides ordering the dismantling of the thermal plant.
The high court judgment is a clear indictment of the state government,which has gone out of way to commit serious violations and grant favours to the tune of hundreds of crores to the Jaypee group. Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal should have resigned on moral grounds. As he hasnt done this,we are going to ask the governor to invoke constitutional provisions and dismiss the BJP government, Singh said.
The HLPs biggest salvo against the BJP government,however,is allegations that the state government paid high fees and granted undue favours to senior Chandigarh lawyer and BJP leader Satyapal Jain for representing the state government in the high court and Supreme Court. Jain was earlier the partys incharge for Himachal Pradesh.
Releasing a set of documents obtained through RTI,the Maheshwar Singh said Jain had charged fee up to Rs 1.10 lakh per hearing for the Supreme Court and Rs 55,000 to Rs 75,000 for High Court cases where as senior Supreme Court lawyers like Prashant Bhushan,B N Dutta,Anil Nag and J S Attri were paid Rs 5,500 or even less than this for single hearings.
In one case alone relating to Union Minister Virbhadra Singh,Jain has been paid a total of Rs 7.50 lakh. There are separate bills of fees paid up to Rs 2.72 lakh and even Rs 1.43 lakh. Even his junior has been paid Rs 33,000, Singh said.
When contacted at Chandigarh,Satyapal Jain said: I have been told that some of my former party colleagues have tried to create an unnecessary and unwanted controversy by dragging by name for professional services I had rendered to the government. I reserve my right to initiate proceedings of defamation. Whatever,I have charged from the government is duly accounted and reflected in the income tax returns. There is no question of undue favours.
Maheshwar Singh,who mainly quoted details of the amount paid,however,asserted that he had only tried to put the facts before the public with supporting evidence,obtained through the RTI. He added that he wanted the people of the state to draw their own conclusions on the issue.