No chargesheet filed in '08 graft FIR against housing minister Prakash Mehta
The case accused Prakash Mehta of carrying out corruption worth crores in an SRA project; Mehta says case is being raked up under ‘malafide intentions’
While the controversy surrounding corruption charges against BJP leader and former state revenue minister Eknath Khadse is only beginning to fade, graft accusations against another BJP minister have come into the limelight once again.
The reply to an RTI filed by Mulund resident Ankur Patil, has revealed that no chargesheet has been filed in a 2008 FIR registered against state housing minister Prakash Mehta. It accused him of ‘carrying out corruption of crores of rupees in an SRA project.’
The RTI, whose reply came in January 2016, had sought details of cases registered against ministers in Devendra Fadnavis’ government and how many of those have no chargesheet. The reply stated that a case has been registered against Mehta who is the minister of housing.
The RTI further revealed that the Special Sessions Court on December 12, 2007 under CrPC section 156 (3) of Anti Corruption Act of 1988 had asked the Mumbai division to register a case and investigate the matter.
The case was registered on March 3, 2008 with the Anti Corruption Bureau, Worli. It states, ‘the accused is a public representative and has been accused of carrying out corruption of crores of rupees in an SRA project.’
Patil said, “The anti-corruption bureau is under the home ministry and it seems as if the government is not interested in taking cognisance of the case against its own minister. Also, how can someone who has an SRA case against him be given the portfolio of housing, under which SRA falls?”
When mid-day reached out to Mehta, he seemed defiant. He said that it is the Congress-NCP government which was ruling at the time that should be asked as to why no chargesheet was filed all these years. “We have been in power for only for two years now. I have informed the Chief Minister about this case and he is completely aware of it. The case is from 2008 and it is being raked up now because of malafide intentions. I don’t know who the activist is,” said Mehta.
However, the RTI does not divulge details on the case against Mehta. But, Mehta claims that the case is related to a 22-storey building under SRA scheme in a certain area of Ghatkopar. “The allegation is that there was corruption by me in some 22-storey building in the area, but let me tell you that there is no such building and no transaction involving me has even been done,” said Mehta. A detailed message was sent to the CM on allegations of whether his government was intentionally not acting against Mehta. The CM didn’t revert.
ACB chief Satish Mathur claims that the case is still stuck in the court because the position of the judge is lying vacant.
“It’s not about a chargesheet being filed in the case or not,” said Mathur.
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