Bombay HC Sends Notices To Maharashtra Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, Kin Challenging Their Discharge In Maharashtra Sadan Scam

Bombay HC Sends Notices To Maharashtra Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, Kin Challenging Their Discharge In Maharashtra Sadan Scam

Justice S M Modak asked that the notices be issued through the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). Notices have been issued to Bhujbal, his son Pankaj, nephew Sameer and six others.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, April 02, 2024, 09:07 AM IST
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Bombay HC Sends Notices To Maharashtra Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, Kin Challenging Their Discharge In Maharashtra Sadan Scam |

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court issued notices to NCP leader and Minister of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Maharashtra Chhagan Bhujbal and his family on Monday, in a plea challenging their discharge from the corruption case lodged in connection with the Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi.

Justice S M Modak asked that the notices be issued through the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). Notices have been issued to Bhujbal, his son Pankaj, nephew Sameer and six others. The HC has kept the matter for hearing on April 29.

Bhujbals Were Acquitted In September 2021

The sessions judge had, on September 9, 2021, discharged the Bhujbals in the case. The case was registered by the ACB pursuant to a high court order on a public interest litigation petition filed by AAP leader Anjali Damania, alleging corruption.

Damania and Nandgaon (Nashik) MLA Suhas Kande had approached the high court challenging their discharge and sought the quashing of the sessions court order. They were represented by Rizwan Merchant and Ajinkya Udane respectively.

Interestingly, over the period, five judges had recused themselves from hearing the pleas challenging the discharge. Damania and Kande had then approached the Supreme Court. The apex court had, on March 18, asked the petitioners to make request to the Hon'ble the Chief Justice of the High Court of Judicature at Bombay for listing the matter before an appropriate bench for expeditious disposal of the Criminal Revision Applications filed by the petitioners.

Following their representation, the chief justice appointed a single-judge bench of Justice S M Modak to hear the pleas. According to Damania's plea, Bhujbal was a serving minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government (in 2021) and that the ACB had not challenged his discharge. "The impugned judgment (of the special ACB court) has been passed without taking into account the prosecution's reference that the act of Bhujbal, which was of clear misuse of his position as he was a cabinet minister having charge only of Home and Tourism Department and had no authority to either interfere or give instructions in respect of the matters related to the Transport Department," her plea read. Damania had contended that the special ACB court had wrongly concluded that merely because Bhujbal was the minister of PWD in the relevant period, he couldn't be held responsible for the acts of the officers of his department.

No vicarious liability can be fastened on him only because he was head/ minister of the department this conclusion of the special court is not only misconceived but is totally contradictory to the Rules of Business of Government of Maharashtra and the constitutional oath of office taken by Bhujbal while accepting the position of the cabinet minister, her plea added.

These rules affixed responsibility on the minister in charge of the department and hold him primarily responsible and therefore, in the present case, for all the acts of omission and commission resulting into various offences by various officers of PWD department as PWD minister, the plea added.

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