Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the Maharashtra government to spell out if any action has been initiated by the MRA police station in accordance with the criminal plaint filed by activist Anna Hazare. The eighty-year-old activist Hazare had filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Ajit Pawar and several other members in an alleged Rs. 25,000 crore scam.
A division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Rajesh Ketkar heard the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Hazare through his counsel SB Talekar. Hazare has sought a probe by Central Bureau Investigations (CBI) against both Sharad and Ajit Pawar along with many others for their alleged mismanagement of sugar cooperative factories which resulted in Rs 25,000 crore losses to the state government. He has also sought an inquiry in 43 sugar factories.
Accordingly, he had filed an FIR with the MRA police station in January and had invoked sections pertaining to cheating, forgery, fraud. He had also filed plaint under charges of stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA) and relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Having heard his contentions, Justice Patil said, “We want the police to spell what action it has taken after registering the FIR. Tell us on record as to what steps were taken with regards to the FIR.”
In his petition, Hazare has said, “It is an accepted fact that there might not be any direct evidence to show the involvement of Sharad Pawar or Ajit Pawar or any other higher official in this scam of ‘unfathomable degree’ but ‘circumstantial’ evidence is available in a much sufficient manner.” It may be recalled that during the alleged scam, Sharad Pawar was the Union agriculture minister and ex-officio president of the Vasantdada Sugar Institute. Also, his nephew Ajit Pawar was then deputy chief minister of Maharashtra.
Apart from the CBI probe, Hazare has also sought to form of a panel under the Commission of Enquiry Act, under the chairmanship of a retired Supreme Court judge. According to Hazare, the errant officials and politicians first burdened the cooperative sugar factories with debt and then sold them at meagre prices, which resulted in Rs 25,000 crore losses to the government.