In a setback to Narendra Modi government,Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal has sanctioned prosecution of minister of state for fisheries Purshottam Solanki for alleged corruption,overruling a cabinet decision.
A letter from the Governor granting sanction to prosecute Solanki in an alleged Rs 400 crore fishing contracts scam was placed before a division bench of the Gujarat High Court comprising Justices Jayant Patel and C L Soni today.
Taking the letter on record,the court disposed of the petition filed by one Irshad Maradia. Following gubernatorial sanction,the complainant can now file his complaint either before the police or a competent court.
The state cabinet had earlier refused to grant sanction to prosecute Solanki.
In his petition,Maradia had alleged Solanki had caused a loss of over Rs 400 crore to the state exchequer by granting fishing contracts in 2009 without inviting tenders.
The Governor has accorded sanction for prosecution of the minister under various sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.
“The application of Irsahd Maridia is required to be allowed and the sanction for prosecution of the Minister of State for Fisheries is henceforth granted in respect of the allegations made in the complainant’s application,” the Governor’s letter said.
“The Governor has given sanction for prosecution of Solanki and has relied upon the 2008 judgement of the Gujarat High Court whereby the fishing contracts were canceled by the division bench judgement.
The contracts were granted for an annual sum of Rs 2.4 crore when the estimated annual return from the same contract was Rs 44 crore. This would cause a loss of over 400 crore to the state exchequer over 10 years,Sinha said.
Relationship between the Modi government and the Governor soured after Beniwal appointed retired judge R A Mehta as state’s Lokayukta by-passing the state government.