The Gujarat High Court on Monday paved the way for proceeding against state fisheries minister Purushottam Solanki in connection with the alleged Rs 400-crore fishing contracts scam.
The court disposed of the matter after it received the sanction to prosecute from Governor Kamla Beniwal,who stated that the minister can be prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act,1988.
With this,an FIR either with the Gujarat Police or an anti-corruption agency is likely to be lodged by complainant and petitioner Ishaq Maradia.
On July 26,Beniwal sanctioned the prosecution of the minister on various charges under the anti-graft Act. The Governor referred to the observation of a division bench of the HC,which had stated that Solanki gave fishing contracts to certain parties without issuing tenders.
Beniwal had underlined several statements,including the comments of finance secretary GB Shah and chief secretary D Rajgopal,that went against Solanki.
The officials had suggested that due to Solankis acts,the state suffered huge financial losses. They had said that giving the lease of over 200 hectares of reservoirs was against the government policy,which could have been done only by the chief minister but Solanki didnt care to seek permission.
The high court had on July 6 ruled that Governor is the final authority to sanction prosecution of the minister after the Council of Ministers (CoMs) recommended against his prosecution.
The July 6 ruling had come following a plea by Maradia seeking contempt proceedings against the government for allegedly violating the order of a single-judge bench that had directed it to decide on the prosecution.
Later,Advocate General Kamal Trivedi told the court that the CoMs decision was not final and that the matter would be sent to the Governor for her opinion.
Following this,the court had ordered the government to submit all the documents related to its decision on Solankis prosecution to the Governor.
Govt to challenge order
The government is likely to challenge the order either in a division bench of the HC or the Supreme Court.
A senior official close to the development said,The governments stand is very clear,which it had mentioned to the High Court on June 30 through an affidavit and through the Cabinets opinion given to the Governor. At present,the government is studying the order. It will file an appeal against the order in a day or two before a division bench or directly move the SC.