Updated: December 21, 2018 2:26:50 pm
In a blow to two BJP leaders — MoS Fisheries Parshottam Solanki and former minister Dileep Sanghani– the Gujarat High Court rejected their petitions seeking quashing of complaints against them in the alleged Rs 400 crore fisheries scam. The two, who were ministers in the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s government, had moved the high court in 2017 after the Gandhinagar district court took cognizance of the alleged offence and issued notices to them.
“Court said that there is substance in the petition to entertain them. The HC was of the opinion that the lower court rightly issued notice and there is no need to interfere in the process,” said advocate Vikram Thakor, who appeared for complainant Ishaq Maradia.
The district court, while issuing the summons, said there was enough material against the accused to be tried in the court, following which the accused moved the high court that stayed the proceedings of the lower court.
The district court took cognizance of the alleged scam on the basis of an inquiry report prepared by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), which found that the BJP leaders could be booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
The ACB report stated that Solanki was “guilty of changing the policy despite not being competent” to do so and, therefore, he could be booked under charges of corruption. The report concluded that the total scam in the case was worth about Rs 1.6 crore and had the Gujarat High Court not intervened in the matter, it could have gone up to Rs 21 crore.
The case dates back to 2008 when Solanki, the then MoS for fisheries, granted fishing contracts to 58 reservoirs, without following the mandatory auctioning process. Sanghani was the then agriculture minister.
The matter came to light after Ishaq Mohammad Maradia, a Banaskantha-based fishing contractor, approached the high court after being denied the contract for a state reservoir.
In September 2008, the high court scrapped the contracts and ordered fresh tenders to be invited. Moradia had alleged that the scam is worth over Rs 400 core.
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