Mumbai: In a major relief to both Chhagan Bhujbal, the former deputy chief minister of Maharashtra and his nephew Sameer, a two-judge apex court bench has set aside the order of the Bombay High Court passed by J Mohit Shah in 2014, directing inquiry into fees of four institutes of Chhagan Bhujbal’s MET Trust.
In 2013, a petition filed by MET vice chairman Sunil Karve had alleged that Bhujbal had misappropriated Rs 177 crores from the trust. He also accused Bhujbal of illegally occupying an entire floor of one of the properties of the trust in Bandra reclamation for the use of his family. Another PIL was filed by Jambulkar, a self-proclaimed freedom fighter, who had alleged financial irregularities by the trust.
The justices questioned the bona fide of Jambulkar who the judges noted was only 16 years old in 1947. “That means you were an adolescent at the time of the freedom struggle,” noted the bench. The judges also asked Jambulkar, “Tell us what you did during the freedom struggle.”
The bench was not satisfied with the intent of both Jambulkar and Karve. In this context, the bench observed: “If Jambulkar had genuine concern about improving the quality of education, he would not have filed a general PIL and singled out one of the 2500 institutes in the state.” The court also imposed a cost of Rs 50,000 each on Sunil Karve and Jambulkar for filing a frivolous litigation. Senior advocates Shyam Diwan and C Aryama Sundaram appeared on behalf of Bhujbal.