Maharashtra government pleader told Bombay High Court that Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had asked Anti-Corruption Bureau’s (ACB) Nashik unit to probe former medical education minister Vijaykumar Gavit and his relatives in a disproportionate assets case.
This was stated by Maharashtra government pleader Sameer Patil before a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka, who was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Nashik-based activist Vishnu Musale, whose petition was admitted by the High Court in April this year, which had sought an open inquiry against Gavit and his relatives.
However, the court inquired why the Chief Minister had asked the ACB Nashik unit to probe when the place of the alleged offence was Nandurbar, which is Gavit’s home town, and not Nashik.
The petitioner’s lawyer Uday Warunjikar said that he had no objection to the probe being conducted by the Mumbai unit of ACB.
Adjourning the matter to July 11, the bench asked the government to place before it, files regarding permissions given by the state to conduct an open inquiry against Gavit and his relatives.
Earlier, the court had questioned the Maharashtra government’s inaction despite an ACB report finding prima facie substance in the allegations against Gavit. “Because of the inaction, the evidence will vanish,” judges had said.
The ACB had told the court that “a discreet inquiry” into the assets of Gavit and his family had revealed some evidence, and it had sought permission from the government on March 5 to hold an open inquiry.
The court had also asked Gavit to file an affidavit declaring sources of funds which he used to purchase properties mentioned in the PIL.
Gavit, a senior NCP leader, was sacked from cabinet after his daughter Heena Gavit accepted a Lok Sabha ticket from the BJP for the Nandurbar seat which she won.