BJP leader Raj Purohit seeks to intervene in ULCA scam PIL
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Last Updated: Friday, February 18, 2011, 00:41
Mumbai: Former Maharashtra Minister and city BJP President Raj Purohit on Thursday moved the Bombay High Court seeking to intervene in a PIL on the Urban Land Ceiling Act (ULCA) scam in Pune.

The intervening application moved by Purohit, in the light of a report tabled by the Government-appointed Sudhakar Joshi committee indicting him for passing orders under ULCA in respect of properties in Pune, was mentioned by his lawyers Niteen Pradhan and Vivekanand Gupta before a bench headed by Justice B H Marlapalle who posted the matter for hearing on February 21.

During the pendency of PIL, the government had asked Sudhakar Joshi to inquire into the controversial files pertaining to ULC orders, No Objection Certificate orders and building permissions granted in respect of certain plots in Pune agglomeration area during the period commencing 1993.

On December 9 last year, a report was tendered by the state before the High Court wherein certain allegations were made against Purohit.

Purohit contended that the committee had not given him an opportunity to explain his stand in regard to the affairs so handled by him as a quasi judicial authority under the ULC Act. Being aggrieved, Purohit moved the High Court.

Purohit said the PIL was filed by Madhav Bhandari seeking a probe into a government order which released properties covered under ULC Act. He said though crimes were registered in Pune Police Commissionerate, no inquiry was made.

He alleged that at the Ministerial level certain orders were passed which directed the stay of warrant issued against Yogesh Mhase, personal secretary to the then Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil. During the pendency of PIL, Sudhakar Joshi was appointed to probe and submit a report.

Purohit, former Minister of state for Urban development, said he apprehended that the Sudhakar Joshi committee had been appointed by the state government to dilute the thrust of the PIL with respect to the action it would be taking against the offenders.

He alleged that the government had made use of this committee with a malafide intention to settle some political score by not only expanding the terms of reference but also not following the principles of natural justice.

"The entire exercise appears to be only to protect the Ministers, officers and staff involved. In the entire scenario I am being made the victim of circumstances," Purohit alleged.

Purohit contended that his implication in the report was "politically motivated".

Once it was realised that all former Chief Ministers, Deputy Chief Ministers and staff were involved in the scam, the committee enlarged its scope of inquiry only to ensure that ministers belonging to the period 1995-1999 will also be charged in the controversy in order to divert public attention and make the crusader a culprit, he alleged.

Purohit said that during his tenure as a Minister for Urban development, he had dealt with a number of cases and appeals. He was also leading an appellate tribunal and decisions were taken by him on the basis of data provided to him and advise given by officials of the department.

He said the committee was conducting the inquiry since the last three years and not even once either a notice was issued to him or his explanation sought, particularly as he was a quasi judicial authority during the relevant period.


First Published: Friday, February 18, 2011, 00:41

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