Monday, October 15, 2012

Action against Chaudhary if found guilty: Govt to HC

The state government on Friday assured Gujarat high court
that the role of BJP MLA from Radhanpur, Shankar Chaudhary, would be
probed in connection with the allegations of misuse of Prime
Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the 2001 earthquake
    Division bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice Harsha Devani
last week asked the state government to clarify its stand on whether
it was willing to include the role of Chaudhary and his trust into the
inquiry it had ordered. The question was raised after a division bench
of HC asked Chaudhary to make repayment of the entire sum to PMNRF
following the complaints regarding malpractice in utilization of the
fund were proved.
    In response to the court’s question, education department’s joint
secretary Kirtida Brahmabhatt produced an order passed by the state
government stating that the inquiry would be conducted against
Chaudhary and his trust — Swami Vivekanand Vikas Mandal.
    “Inquiry, being carried out by Sangeeta Sinh, principal secretary,
education, will also be conducted on whether Chaudhary or his trust
has resorted to any illegalities for availing relief from PMNRF in
2001,” said the order passed on July 23, 2012.
    The order further reads, “On the conclusion of the inquiry on
prima facie if any illegalities will be found, then initiation of
criminal proceedings will also be recommended while submitting the
    Following this undertaking, the division bench has granted two
months’ time to the state government to submit the inquiry report.
    The petition was filed by one Farsu Goklani through his advocate
Jal Soli Unwala. It claimed that even nearly two years after the HC
ordered action against those responsible for the misuse of relief
fund, no steps had been initiated in this regard.
    In 2007, Goklani filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) accusing
Chaudhary of misusing PMNRF to the tune of Rs 21 lakh. In its 2010
order on the PIL, HC directed Chaudhary to reimburse the amount he had
availed from PMNRF, with 10% interest and also directed the government
for initiating actions against all responsible persons.