Saturday, Dec 20, 2014

A minister once probed over porn, another for mining

Babu Bokhiriya (left) and  Shanker Chaudhary Babu Bokhiriya (left) and Shanker Chaudhary
By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Posted: May 23, 2014 2:13 am | Updated: May 23, 2014 9:50 am

The list of new Gujarat ministers has very few changes from the previous one, but two of these involve controversial leaders who have come under a corruption cloud — first-timer Shanker Chaudhary and Porbandar strongman Babu Bokhiriya, who has been re-inducted.

Chaudhary, made a minister of state, has been cleared of the charges he was probed for. The Gujarat High Court had imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on Chaudhary following a public interest litigation that alleged a trust he ran had misused Rs 21 lakh given to it under the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund to repair a school building damaged in the 2001 Gujarat earthquake. The court ordered Chaudhary and his trust to repay the amount with 10 per cent interest and pay a fine of Rs 25,000. The court ordered an inquiry to find if any criminal offence was committed; a government probe gave Chaudhary a clean chit. The trust refunded the amount and paid the fine.

In 2012, a privileges committee of seven members, five from the BJP and two from the Congress, also investigated allegations that Chaudhary and fellow MLA Jetha Bharwad were watching porn on Chaudhary’s Ipad during an assembly session; this probe too gave them a clean chit after a forensic test on the iPad, sources said.

Bokhiriya, given water resources, agriculture and animal husbandry, faces a criminal case involving illegal mining of limestone to the tune of Rs 54 crore in Porbandar district. A magisterial court convicted Bokhiriya and three others. A sessions court in Porbandar reserved its judgment after hearing Bokhiriya’s appeal. The judge who heard the appeal has since been transferred and another judge will continue the hearing.

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