Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday questioned "inaction" on part of Maharashtra Government despite an Anti-Corruption Bureau report prima facie finding substance in the allegations against former medical education minister Vijaykumar Gavit and his family in a disproportionate assets case.
"Because of inaction, the evidence will vanish", said a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka.
The high court had earlier asked the State to take action after ACB had informed that they had found prima facie substance in the allegations against Gavit and his family.
The ACB had also stated that on holding a discreet inquiry into the assets of Gavit
and his family members it had found material against them and submitted a proposal to the state government on March 5 to seek permission for an open inquiry against the minister. However, the permission was awaited.
The court had then asked the government to decide on granting permission to conduct an open inquiry against Gavit.
Before adjourning the matter by a week, the high court noted that its previous orders were not complied with and orally warned that it will be forced to take contempt action against the concerned officials if no action was taken.
The court had earlier asked the former minister to file an affidavit, declaring sources of income from which he purchased properties by paying cash as alleged in the PIL.
The PIL, seeking prosecution of Gavit and his family members, was admitted in April by the high court which had deferred the hearing till June for further interim relief.
ACB had informed the court that even before the PIL was filed, several complaints were filed with them against Gavit and his family during the period 2009 to 2012.
Hence, it held a discreet inquiry and found that prima facie there was substance against them with regard to assets disproportionate to known sources of income, ACB said.
Gavit, a senior NCP leader, was sacked from the Maharashtra cabinet after his daughter Heena got a Lok Sabha ticket from BJP to contest from Nandurbar seat.
Lawyer of the Nashik-based petitioner Vishnu Musale,
who is an activist, Uday Warunjikar said that Gavit`s father was a teacher in Nandurbar and Gavit himself had worked as a lecturer until 1994 and his last monthly salary in June 1994 was Rs 9,715.
His brother Sharad worked as a Class-IV employee in Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation. His last drawn salary in 1994 was Rs 1,290.
Gavit was elected as MLA in 1994 and made Tribal Development minister. His brother was transferred to the state secretariat as a special officer. Sharad, too, was elected as an MLA from Navapur constituency in 2009.
Warunjikar said the information acquired through the Right To Information Act showed Gavit having personal assets of Rs 1.3 crore, and his family`s assets (in the name of wife and daughters) were worth Rs 1.5 crore.
However, nomination papers filed by Gavit in 2009 showed his assets at Rs 2.23 crore and his family`s assets at Rs 4.78 crore.
"The rise in his wealth after he became minister shows it was generated by using illegal means, taking undue advantage of his status as a member of the legislative assembly and as a minister," the PIL alleged.
"Record of land transactions in Nandurbar district in the last 10 to 15 years showed that many people below the poverty line who were connected to Gavit and his brother had purchased huge properties. This showed that the Gavit family purchased those properties in the name of their loyal persons/workers," the PIL said.