Gujarat HC Orders BJP Minister and Ex-Minister to Surrender and Face Trial in Rs 400-crore Fisheries Scam
The court also said that it was 'surprised' that the state Lokayukta gave a 'clean chit' to the two.
On Friday, December 21, the Gujarat High Court reportedly ordered the Minister of State for Fisheries Parshottam Solanki and a former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister, Dileep Sanghani to surrender within two weeks and face trial for a Rs 400-crore fisheries scam. Sanghani was the state agricultural minister in the then Narendra Modi government in the state.
The Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB) had accused Sanghani and Solanki of being involved in the scam and had initiated criminal proceedings in a Gandhinagar special court. However, the two challenged it in 2017 in the High Court. On Friday, the HC rejected their plea and upheld the criminal prosecution initiated by the ACB, adding that the ACB report “reveals more than a prima facie case to proceed against” the two, reported the Indian Express.
The court noted, “The report reveals that all the accused persons in collusion and connivance with each other and by abusing their position caused a loss of Rs 21,04,64,515 (Rs 21 crore) to the government exchequer over a period of five years by arbitrarily awarding contracts to different parties for their personal gain,” reported IE.
The fisheries scam pertains to 2008, when Solanki had allegedly passed fishing contracts without following the due procedure of auctioning, causing a loss of Rs 400 to the exchequer, reported DNA.
The court also said that it was ‘surprised’ that the state Lokayukta gave a ‘clean chit’ to the two.
“Both will have to face the trial now. In the case of Solanki, even the Governor has granted sanction of prosecution in the scam,” a government official told The Hindu after the High Court order.