Modi faces contempt plea for rejecting prosecution for cabinet minister

Ahmedabad: A contempt petition was filed against Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the Council of Ministers for rejecting sanction to prosecute cabinet minister Purshottam Solanki in an alleged Rs 400 crore fishing contract scam without taking Governor's sanction as directed by the court.

The high court had directed the Gujarat government in its 30 March order to decide the plea seeking sanction to prosecute Solanki under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, stating that Governor would be the competent authority to take a final decision with aide and advice of the Council.

Reuters

However, "by-passing" Governor Kamla, the Council of Minister's, including Modi, struck down the application for sanction on 29 June, said Rajesh Mankad who is representing petitioner Ishaq Maradia.

The letter conveying decision of the Council of Ministers refusing the permission was earlier received by Mankad.

Maradia had alleged that Solanki, by granting fishing contracts in 2009 without any tender process caused loss to the tune of Rs 400 crore to state exchequer. He also demanded filing of an FIR against the minister under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

When on 20 October, 2010 his request was declined by the order of Deputy Secretary, Agriculture and Co-operation Department, Maradia moved the high court contending that Deputy Secretary was not the appropriate authority to decide.

On 30 March, Justice Harsha Devani, while setting aside the deputy secretary's order, directed the government that the matter be decided by the Council of Ministers within three months with the Governor's approval.

"As per high court's directions, the decision should have the seal of approval from the Office of Governor. However, the Council of Ministers has denied sanction without approval of the Governor. As this amounts to clear violation of high court's order, we have filed a contempt petition," Mankad
said.

PTI

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