Raising concerns over increasing trend of misappropriation of public money meant for welfare schemes by elected representatives, the Bombay High Court’s Aurangabad bench on Thursday dismissed a writ plea filed by the chairman of panchayat samiti in Parbhani district and a gram sevak seeking to quash an FIR against them. The FIR was lodged against them for alleged misappropriation of nearly Rs 10 lakh sanctioned for a cement bundh for water storage.
A division bench of Justice Tanaji V Nalawade and Justice Mukund G Sewlikar on October 22 was hearing plea by accused public servants filed through advocate S J Salunkhe seeking to quash and set aside FIR filed by Pimpaldari police station in Parbhani in 2012, under sections 420 (punishment for cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust) of IPC among others.
The FIR was registered based on the report of development officer of panchayat samiti Gangakhed as per directions of Chief Executive Officer of Parbhani zilla parishad. The report alleged misappropriation of public money to the tune of Rs 9.99 lakh by the two accused from the amount sanctioned for cement bundh.
Advocate Salunkhe submitted that the petitioners used the amount for purchasing articles and gave advance money for their purchase and said that there were statements showing receipt of the same. However, the bench noted that the records cannot help petitioners’ claim of no misappropriation of public money.
The court further observed the sanctioned amount was with the petitioners for more than a year and half and it was not utilised for public purpose and this act clearly falls under Section 403 (punishment for dishonest misappropriation of property) of the IPC.
The court observed, “Such incidents are increasing day by day. This way the elected representatives are using the public money. On the other hand, due to such acts the public are not getting benefit of the government schemes.”
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