Ishaq Maradia, a trader from village Bhagal in Banaskantha district of Gujarat, had applied for fishing contracts for four reservoirs in June 2008. A total of 82 of these contracts were to be leased out all over Gujarat. However he was in for a rude shock. The Minister of state for Ports and Fisheries, Purushottam Solanki granted the contracts of 58 reservoirs including those for which he had applied to his favorite parties in July and August. For just 28 dams, the lost income to the exchequer totaled an eye-popping Rupees 420 crore (over four billion) of lost income for the ten year period.
The Gujarat High Court Division Bench on 29 September 2008 ruled the contracts were awarded not by the competent authority, the district officers, as per normal government procedure, but instead the minister had â€˜usurped the powers to award the contracts for extraneous reasons to favor certain parties for illegal gratification.â€™.
Despite High Court’s indictment, the real challenge for Ishaq was posed by Narendra Modi and his cabinet that stonewalled his demand for the ministerâ€™s prosecution. In response to Ishaq’s request to Gujarat Government to grant sanction for the criminal prosecution of Purushottam Solanki, here is the response of Advocate General Kamal Trivedi in Gujarat High Court.
Extracts from CrMA No 10661 of 2010. The complete scanned document is produced at the bottom of the post. The relevant sections have been underlined in the scanned copy.
“During the course of hearing, Mr Kamal Trivedi, learned Advocate General for the Respondents, to make it more elaborate the contents made in paragraph 6 of the aforesaid affidavit states that the decision dated 28.9.2010 refusing the sanction for prosecution under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 against the Respondents No. 3 herein which has been taken at the highest level, means that, the decision has been taken by the Hon’ble Minister of State For Law and Justice, Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture, Law and Justice as well as Hon’ble Chief Minister of the State“
Advocate General of Gujarat, Kamal Trivedi, stated in the most unambiguous words that the decision to decline sanction for criminal prosecution of Purushottam Solanki in 2010 under the Prevention of Corruption Act came directly from the Chief Minister. This was after Gujarat High Court had already indicted the Minister in 2008!
Eventually, the Governor of Gujarat, had to intervene that resulted in granting of the sanction to prosecute Purushottam Solanki. Here’s that order.
Narendra Modi often gloats about Gujarat’s clean Governance. He tries to portray a picture before the Nation that Gujarat’s Governance is devoid of corruption. But Modi conveniently forgets that he himself stonewalled the fight of a common man against Corruption in Gujarat.
The relevant section is on the 2nd page. Please see the underlined lines.