Mumbai: In a big relief to the once powerful Mumbai Congress chief and MLA Kripashankar Singh, Maharashtra assembly Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil has refused sanction to prosecute him in a disproportionate assets case, inviting criticism from BJP, which said the move amounted to shielding corruption.
Highly placed sources said the Speaker's sanction to prosecute Singh under the Prevention of Corruption Act was denied to Mumbai Police recently.
Speaking on condition of anonymity they, however, declined to divulge the grounds on which sanction was refused.
"The decision is open to court's scrutiny," sources said.
The Speaker's decision drew criticism from opposition BJP which demanded that he reconsider the decision.
"The Speaker's decision to shield Singh is like shielding corruption. Let the courts decide if Singh is guilty or not," Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Vinod Tawade said.
However, Congress rushed to back the Speaker on the issue and said charges against Singh were "politically motivated".
"The charges against Singh were politically motivated. The Speaker must have taken a decision after examining the legal aspects," state Congress president Manikrao Thakre said.
Even NCP chief Sharad Pawar appeared to support Walse-Patil, saying "the Speaker is a law graduate. If he has taken a conscious decision, there must be a sound reason."
A special Investigating team of Mumbai police had probed the case against Singh for three years following a complaint to the Anti-Corruption Bureau by activist Sanjay Tiwari in 2010. Tiwari had also filed a PIL in Bombay High Court alleging that the Congress MLA from Kalina had amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.
A SIT, then headed by Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh, had completed investigations in the case last December and sent its report to the Speaker seeking his approval to prosecute Singh.
The Prevention of Corruption Act requires the probe agency to secure sanction of the appointing authority before prosecuting a public servant.
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Updated Date: Jul 12, 2014 21:14:08 IST