The Bombay High Court has instructed a petitioner to substantiate his bona fides in order to proceed with his public interest litigation (PIL) seeking an investigation against Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
The petitioner alleges that Shinde spent "₹10 crore or more" on his Dussehra rally at MMRDA grounds in BKC on October 5, 2022, under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the Income Tax Act.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Nitin Jamdar and Justice Arif S Doctor was hearing the plea filed by activist Deepak Jagdev, a resident of Kandivali, through advocate Nitin Satpute.
“We are granting him opportunity to place on record the details of the petitioner, the source of living, disclose with documents,” the bench said.
Allegations of Rally Expenses and Funding
The PIL claimed that Chief Minister Shinde's rally attracted approximately two lakh people from across the state. It further alleged that 1,700 buses of Maharashtra Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) were utilized to transport people for the event, with Shinde allegedly paying over Rs10 crore to MSRTC for the service. The petitioner also sought a probe into the funding of other arrangements made for the rally.
The PIL requested an investigation by central agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Enforcement Directorate (ED), or the Economic Offences Wing of Mumbai Police into the allegations against Chief Minister Shinde.
Violation of Traffic Rules and Expenses Incurred
Additionally, the plea alleges that the under-construction Samruddhi Mahamarg Expressway from Mumbai to Nagpur was used to bring rally supporters to Mumbai, purportedly in violation of traffic rules and without permission from MSRTC.
The petition also highlights significant expenses incurred on advertisements in newspapers, renting the BKC ground, promotional song and teasers, 2,000 hoardings, and food packets.