The Gujarat government on Friday gave an undertaking to the high court in Ahmedabad [ Images ] that the role of Bharatiya Janata Party [ Images ] Member of Legislative Assembly Shankar Chaudhary will also be probed in connection with the case of misuse of Prime Minister's National Relief Fund for earthquake relief in 2001.
Division bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice Harsha Devani had last week asked the state government to clarify its stand on whether they were willing to include the role of Chaudhary and his Trust into the inquiry ordered by them.
On Friday, Kirtida Brahmabhatt, Joint Secretary Education department produced before the court an order of the state government stating that the inquiry will be conducted against Chaudhary and his trust Swami Vivekanand Vikas Mandal.
"Inquiry, being carried out by Sangeeta Sinh, principal secretary, education will also be conducted on whether Chaudhary or his trust has resorted to any illegalities for availing relief from PMNRF in 2001," said the order passed by the department on July 23, 2012.
"On the conclusion of the inquiry on prima facie if any illegalities will be found then initiation of criminal proceedings will also be recommended while submitting the report," it further states.
Following this undertaking, the division bench has granted two months' time to the state government to submit the inquiry report.
The petition was filed by Farsu Goklani through his advocate Jal Unvala. The petitioner's counsel had submitted before the court that even one-and-a-half year after the HC ordered suitable action against those responsible for misuse of relief fund, no steps had been initiated in this regard.
In 2007, Goklani filed a Public Interest Litigation accusing Chaudhary of misusing PMNRF to the tune of Rs 21.01 lakh. The PIL said the building of a school, run by a
Chaudhary-led Trust, in his constituency Radhanpur was severely damaged in 2001 earthquake.
Chaudhary claimed Rs 21.01 lakh from PMNRF for the damage caused to the building. With this money, he constructed another building on a private plot and not on land owned by his trust, which amounts to misuse of PMNRF, Goklani had alleged.
The HC in its 2010 order on the PIL had directed Chaudhary to reimburse the amount he had availed from PMNRF, with 10 per cent interest and also directed government for initiating actions against all responsible persons.