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HC turns down Hazare's plea for CBI probe into 'sugar scam'

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday threw out a plea by Anna Hazare seeking a CBI probe into an alleged sugar cooperative factories scam in which he had named NCP president Sharad Pawar and his nephew Ajit Pawar, a former Maharastra minister, asking him to approach the police first.

A Division bench told the 79-year-old anti-graft crusader to approach the police first and said his PIL seeking a CBI probe could not be considered "at this stage". "First file a police complaint based on your allegations, and if they refuse to register it, then approach their higher authorities and even if that does not work out then come to us," the bench told Hazare.

"At this stage, we would not order a CBI inquiry...You are asking for a CBI probe without even the offence being registered by police. How can you ask for transfer of probe when offence has not been registered?" the high court said. As Hazare's counsel sought time to register a police case, the bench adjourned the matter to February 13.

Anna Hazare. PTI

Anna Hazare. PTI

Hazare has filed two more civil PILs on the same issue which are expected to come up for hearing in due course. The petitions alleged that fraud had been committed in governance by first burdening sugar cooperative factories with debts and thereafter selling these sick units at a throwaway price, causing a loss of Rs 25,000 crore to the government, cooperative sector and members of public.

It was prayed that a receiver be appointed to take possession of all properties held by persons against whom a prima facie case exists in the alleged scam. The petitions name Sharad Pawar and Ajit as respondents. Hazare also demanded setting up of a Commission of Inquiry to probe the alleged illegal sale of the sugar factories in Maharashtra either by the Government or the cooperative banks.

The petitioner demanded an inquiry by CBI into the allegations of corruption and misuse of government and cooperative funds involving lease and sale of cooperative sugar factories in Maharashtra.

The petitioner stated that the statistics and facts mentioned in the petition have been collected from authorities under Right to Information Act. Hazare pleaded that "the scam" had "engulfed the entire state" and pulled it back by nearly 50 years by causing losses
to the government and putting the state under financial debt to the tune of hundreds of crores of rupees.

Pawar had earlier said he would file a defamation suit against Hazare over the allegations.

Updated Date: Jan 06, 2017 19:19 PM

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