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Illegal wealth: Court quashes PIL against minister

In a relief for Maharashtra water resources minister Sunil Tatkare,the Bombay High Court on Monday refused to entertain a public interest litigation demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the alleged amassing of wealth by the minister through his relatives.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: July 3, 2012 5:02:20 am

In a relief for Maharashtra water resources minister Sunil Tatkare,the Bombay High Court on Monday refused to entertain a public interest litigation (PIL) demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the alleged amassing of wealth by the minister through his relatives.

A Division Bench of Justice S A Bobde and Justice Mridula Bhatkar,which was hearing the case,asked the petitioner to approach the appropriate investigating authorities instead.

The petition that was filed by Rajendra Phanse,general secretary of a Thane-based political party named Dharmarajya Paksha,was subsequently withdrawn.

The judges,directing the investigating authorities to take appropriate action on the complaint of the petitioner as expeditiously as possible,also directed that the case “should not be kept in cold storage.” The court,however,declined to set any particular time-limit for the agencies to take any action on the complaint,noting that the matter would depend on the material that is placed before it.

Through his PIL Phanse had contended that the rise of Tatkare,who was earlier a road contractor in Raigad,was similar to former Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh.

The PIL notes that Tatkare’s son Aniket in 2008-09 purchased 80 plots of land measuring about 250 acres in all in Dhagadwadi and Ambivli. According to him,the transactions were made through 25 private companies floated by him and his sister Aditi.

Phanse also cited media interviews of MLC Jayant Patil to claim that Aniket had floated 140 companies to dodge the possession limit set by the Land Ceiling Act and in this manner acquired about 1,000 acres of prime plots.

However,arguing for the state government on Monday,Advocate General Darius Khambata noted that the PIL was based merely on media reports and had no independent source of information. He pointed out that there was no complaint filed by any person in the case.

“The petitioner can approach the EOW. He can also approach the Commissioner of Police (CP) or file a complaint with the magistrate if his representation is not taken cognisance of by the authorities,” Khambata said.

Khambata also contended that the petition could not be compared to an earlier PIL seeking action against Kripashankar Singh,noting that the petitioner in the latter case had approached the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Income Tax (IT) department before approaching the HC.

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