Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Friday issued notice to the state government and BJP MLA and former minister Babu Bokhiria on a PIL alleging illegal transfer of forest land in favour of him and his family members in Jamnagar district.
The district's Paradva Gram Panchayat had moved a PIL in the matter last year and it came up for hearing on Friday before the division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice A J Shastri.
The bench issued notices to the state government, the Jamnagar district collector, the district forest officer and Bokhiria. Further hearing would take place on December 13.
The petition alleges that Bokhiria, his son and son-in-law "forged and fabricated power of attorney" to acquire a piece of land in Paradva village. The land, measuring 200 hectares, was already declared as reserve forest and is home to several wild animals, it stated.
However, since it has rich deposits of limestone, used for manufacturing cement, the petition alleged that Bokhiria was using his influence in the government to acquire it through "fraudulent acts".
"Two hundred hectares of land is very rich so far as forest is concerned. A hundred thousand trees have been planted and naturally grown, which are valuable commercially or otherwise. Therefore, Babubhai Bokhiriya wants to exploit this forest land for his personal purpose and malicious exercise is being undertaken," said the PIL.
It claimed that the Jamnagar collector was helping Bokhiria to get the forest land converted into a regular land, which can later be used for industrial purposes.
The petition alleged several rules regarding forest and wildlife were being broken to help Bokhiria."If this land is transferred to Bokhiria, it may be noted that he would immediately remove all the valuable medicinal and other trees and displace wildlife, including 25 leopards and more than 3000 spotted deer," the PIL said.