Maharashtra challenges indictment for shielding loan shark

April 15th, 2009 - 9:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) The Maharashtra government Wednesday moved the Supreme Court challenging a Bombay High Court ruling which indicted it for former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s alleged move to shield a money lender.
Appearing for the state government before a bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, senior counsel U. Lalit apprised the court of the lawsuit filed by the state government and pleaded for its urgent hearing.

The bench, which also included Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice J.M. Panchal, however, refused to take up the lawsuit for urgent hearing, saying it would hear it in the due course.

The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, while finding “gross executive interference from the executive” in shielding a private financier belonging to the ruling party, in its ruling had imposed a fine of Rs.25,000 upon the state March 5 and had directed it to pay it within six weeks.

On Lalit’s plea, the bench gave the state government a small concession - it allowed it ignore the high court’s deadline for paying the fine in case the apex court registry did not slate the hearing within six weeks from March 5.

The high court indicted the state government after finding that then chief minister Deshmukh’s private secretary Ajinkya Padwal twice called up the Khamgaon city police station in Maharashtra May 31, 2006, to enquire about a complaint against Congress legislator Dilipkumar Sananda’s father Gokulchand Sananda, a private money-lender.

The high court also found that Deshmukh’s secretary had also ordered the policemen against taking any action on the complaint against Sananda.

The complaint was filed by Sarnagdharsingh Chavan and his brother Vjaysingh Chavan, who said they took a loan from Sananda, but were unable to pay it back due the exorbitant interest he levied.

The two brothers also said they took the loan after pledging their farm land to him and their failure to pay back the loan has resulted in confiscation of their land.

The high court later indicted the state government, while adjudicating the lawsuit filed by the Chavan brothers, who also alleged that legislator Sananada met Deshmukh June 1, 2006, seeking protection for his father against criminal prosecution.

Chavan told the high court that on Sananda’s plea, Deshmukh summoned the Buldhana district collector and allegedly asked him not to take any action against Sananda and other money lenders in the district without consulting the higher authorities.

The Buldhana district collector, in turn, conveyed these instructions, orally issued by Deshmukh, to the district’s superintendent of police. A letter of the district collector came on the records of the high court.

In its lawsuit, the state government told the apex court the so-called PIL was filed with support of Bhausaheb Phudnkar, leader of pposition in the state legislative council, of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The state government denied Deshmukh’s secretary had ever called up the police station. It, however, admitted that Deshmukh had a meeting with the Buldhana district collector, but that was only to instruct him that action against money-lenders should be taken as per due process of law and it should not be based on motivated complaints.

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