Hazare had filed a criminal public interest litigation seeking a CBI probe into an alleged sugar cooperative factories scam.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Friday directed well-known anti-corruption crusader and social activist Anna Hazare to first approach the local authorities and register a First Information Report (FIR) in the alleged sugar cooperative factories scam before seeking a CBI inquiry into the same.
Mr Hazare had filed a criminal public interest litigation seeking a CBI probe into an alleged sugar cooperative factories scam in which he had named Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar and his nephew Ajit Pawar, a former state minister. Observing that the high court cannot direct a CBI enquiry in any matter without registration of FIR, the division bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka asked Mr Hazare to first register an FIR and later seek CBI enquiry. The bench was of the view that any person should first register a complaint and if there is inaction from the authorities concerned, then the person should seek CBI enquiry.
“First file a police complaint based on your allegations, and if they refuse to register it, then approach their higher authorities and even if that does not work out then come to us,” said Justice Oka. The bench also told the petitioner’s lawyer that the PIL seeking a CBI probe into the alleged scam could not be considered “at this stage”. Following the court’s observations, Mr Hazare’s counsel sought time to register a police complaint. Following this the court deferred the matter till February 13.
Apart from a criminal PIL, Mr Hazare has filed two more civil PILs on the same issue. The petitions alleged that fraud had been committed in governance by first burdening sugar cooperative factories with debts and thereafter selling these sick units at a throwaway price, causing a loss of Rs 25,000 crore to the government, cooperative sector and members of the public.
The petitions name Mr Sharad Pawar and Mr Ajit Pawar as respondents. Mr Hazare also demanded setting up of a Commission of Inquiry to probe the illegal sale of sugar factories in Maharashtra either by the government or the cooperative banks. It was prayed that a receiver be appointed to take possession of properties held by persons against whom prima facie case exists in the scam.