In a setback to the Narendra Modi government,Gujarat High Court today upheld the decision of the Governor to grant sanction to prosecute minister Purshottam Solanki overruling the state cabinet in the alleged Rs 400 crore fishing contracts scam.
Justice R H Shukla while dismissing the petition filed by Solanki challenging Governor Kamala Beniwal’s decision held that her order was legal.
“The order of the Governor is legal and she has exercised her power which are not alien to her,” Justice Shukla observed.
In July last,Solanki,the Fisheries minister,had moved the High Court seeking to cancel the order of the Governor granting sanction for his prosecution overruling the state council of ministers.
He had claimed that the decision of the Governor overruling the council of ministers and granting the prosecution under the Prevention of Corruption Act was totally illegal,unconstitutional and outside her purview.
In his petition,Solanki had sought Governor’s decision to be declared unconstitutional and requested the HC to set aside the decision taken by her.
In 2009,one Ishaq Maradia had alleged that Solanki granted the contracts for fishing in reservoirs across the state without due tendering process and thereby resorted to corruption of Rs 400 crore.
He had sought the sanction for Solanki’s prosecution.
The state cabinet under Modi had twice rejected the application seeking prosecution of the minister.
However,the court had told the state government that it should forward the decision to the Governor as she is the final authority to decide on the prosecution of the minister.
After the state government forwarded its decision to the Governor,she on July 26 passed an order overruling the state cabinet and ordered prosecution of Solanki.
Following the sanctions granted by Governor in a snub to Modi,Maradia had on August 3 lodged the complaint against the minister under various sections Prevention of Corruption Act in a court designated for corruption cases.
The special ACB court has directed the superintendent of police,Gandhinagar,to inquire into it and submit the report by October 6,2012.