Observing that it was “abuse of process of law”, the Bombay High Court had dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a probe by the central agencies against former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his family members for allegedly owning assets beyond their known sources of income.
A bench of Justices Dhiraj Thakur and Valmiki SA Menezes dismissed the PIL filed by Gouri Bhide observing, “There is absolutely no evidence or live link between the alleged malpractices in the BMC and private respondents herein. The petitioners thus are attempting to seek a roving probe, monitored by this Court into the suspicions so entertained by the petitioners based on nothing but bald allegations.”
Bhide, 38, filed the PIL -- seeking a probe by the CBI and the ED -- after there was no action on her police complaint in this regard. Counsels for Thackerays, Aspi Chinoy, Ashok Mundargi and Joel Carlos, had opposed the plea calling it “absolutely bereft of any material” and filed purely on “assumptions”. Chinoy had argued that the petitioner has an alternate remedy of filing a private complaint before a magistrate’s court seeking police probe.
“The petition as also the complaint thus are bereft of any evidence much less evidence which would give a basis to this Court to come to a conclusion that a prima facie case was made out for an investigation by the CBI or any other central agency,” said the bench in its 22-page judgment.
The bench turned down Bhide’s argument that the alleged corruption in the BMC and the sudden rise in the assets of Thackeray family are linked. “On a reading of the complaint and the petition, it appears that the Petitioners are only speculating on the sudden rise in the prosperity index of the private respondents from their humble beginning and, therefore, entertain a suspicion that the life style maintained by the said private respondents could only be attributed to the corrupt practices in the BMC."
The HC even imposed a cost of Rs25,000 which is to be deposited in the Advocates Welfare Fund within two months.
During the hearing, public prosecutor Aruna Kamath-Pai had informed the court that a preliminary inquiry had been initiated by the EOW on the complaint. However, even then Bhide did not withdraw the PIL.
What are the Thackerays accused of?
It alleged that Uddhav Thackeray and his family never disclosed any particular service, profession or business as their official source of income.
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