Pulling up the Anti-Corruption Bureau for delay in the open inquiry against former Maharashtra Minister Vijaykumar Gavit and his family in a disproportionate assets case, the Bombay High Court has asked the agency to file a status report by November 24.
“Why have you delayed the probe? The discreet inquiry had taken a long time and the open inquiry has taken even longer,” observed a bench of justices Abhay Oka and A S Gadkari when the status report in the case was not placed before them last week.
Government pleader Sameer Patil said one report had been submitted to the court earlier and another one would be filed soon.
However, the judges said the first report was given in August and the next one not yet submitted. “Give us the status report on November 24,” the bench said.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by V R Musale seeking prosecution of Gavit and his family.
During the hearing earlier, ACB had informed that it had found prima facie substance against the minister and his relatives.
The bench had noted earlier that the reply filed by the state did not disclose the nature of the inquiry made into the assets held by Gavit and his family. It asked the state to look into this aspect and file an affidavit.
Income Tax Department had also informed that it had reopened the assessment of Gavit and his family since 2007-08 under the Income Tax Act and Wealth Tax Act.
The ACB had 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 on March 5 to seek permission for an open inquiry against Gavit.
Later, the state informed the high court that the Home Ministry had given nod to ACB to hold an open inquiry.
The court had also 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.