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Loyalist arrested in graft case, Ashok Gehlot cries ‘vendetta’

Gehlot, a former chief minister, accused the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government of engaging in the politics of vendetta.

Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. Express photo by Rohit Jain Paras

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Tuesday arrested Congress leader Rajendra Solanki, a known confidant of Ashok Gehlot, in a case involving alleged financial irregularities of Rs 250 crore when he was the chairperson of Jodhpur Development Authority. Gehlot, a former chief minister, accused the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government of engaging in the politics of vendetta.

The ACB arrested Solanki after the Supreme Court stayed the anticipatory bail granted to him by the Rajasthan High Court last month. Solanki is the second person close to Gehlot to be arrested in recent months. In January, the ACB had arrested former Congress MLA Jugal Kabra in connection with the Jodhpur University recruitment scam.

The two arrests in Gehlot’s home town Jodhpur have been perceived as Raje’s ploy to push the Congress leader to a corner. Solanki was arrested under Sections 13(1) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. He is accused of permitting a slew of work orders in Jodhpur in the run-up to the 2013 Assembly elections when he was the chairperson of the Jodhpur Development Authority.

“Today, the SC stayed the anticipatory bail, so we were able to arrest him,” SP (ACB) Ajay Pal Lamba said. “The irregularities under his chairmanship are valued at Rs 250 crore. These include work orders given out in a non-transparent manner. Work was ordered without any demand, without holding meetings,” Lamba said.

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Gehlot said the ACB had acted under political pressure. “The very fact that the government moved the Supreme Court even after Solanki got anticipatory bail from HC reflects vendetta. Raje should come clean on what she has done for Jodhpur’s development, instead of engaging in this sort of vendetta,” he said.

BJP leaders are saying that we did all the work in Sardarpura (Gehlot’s constituency) six months before the elections. But these are baseless allegations. During Solanki’s tenure, more work was done in Sursagar, the inner city area and Luni,” Gehlot added.

First published on: 03-05-2017 at 03:19:21 am
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