The Central Bureau of Investigation will take over the probe, and the court has directed it to take steps to register FIRs against all those revenue officers named in the report as well as Raj Purohit, then Minister of State for Urban Development, within six weeks
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today transferred from the State CID to the CBI, the probe into the Pune land scam under the Urban Land Ceiling and Regulation Act (ULCA) and directed the agency to register First Information Reports (FIRs) against former Urban Development minister and Mumbai BJP chief Raj Purohit and other revenue officers of the department within six weeks, reports PTI.
"According to the report, submitted by the one-man Committee appointed by the government, the minister (Mr Purohit) and several revenue officers of the Urban Development department had abused their powers and passed brazenly fraudulent orders," a division bench of Justices B H Marlapalle and U D Salvi observed.
"The CBI shall take over the probe and shall take steps to register FIRs against all those revenue officers named in the report as well as Purohit, then Minister of State for Urban Development within six weeks," the bench directed.
The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari alleging that between 1976 and 2005, 11,894 returns (statements of property extracts and details of persons having interest in the land) were filed under the (now repealed) ULCA in the Pune urban agglomeration.
According to the PIL, bogus orders were passed under ULCA to avoid surrendering excess land to the state government.
Mr Purohit's lawyer, Niteen Pradhan, said that they would challenge the order.
The 29 cases registered by the State CID, Pune between December 2010 and January 2011 following court orders do not name even one of the revenue officers as accused in the scam.
This is one of the reasons why the court feels that the case should be handed over to an independent agency which is not under the control of the state government, Justice Marlapalle remarked.
The accused have been charged with criminal conspiracy and murder in burning of the S-6 coach of the train on 27 February 2002 near Godhra, about 125 km from Ahmedabad in which 59 people were killed
Ahmedabad: Thirty one people were on Tuesday convicted and 63 others, including the main accused Maulvi Umarji, were acquitted by a special court here in the 2002 Godhra train burning incident that left 59 people dead and triggered violence in the western Indian state of Gujarat that had claimed the lives of over 1,200 people, mainly Muslims, reports PTI.
The sentence would be pronounced on 25th February after arguments on the quantum of punishment by the special court that accepted the theory of conspiracy behind the burning of the coach of Sabarmati Express carrying kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
The court acquitted prime accused Maulana Umarji, Godhra town municipality chief Mohammad Abdul Rahim Kalota, Nannu Mian Chowdhary and Mohammad Ansari while other key accused Haji Billa and Rajjak Kurkur were convicted.
"Special court judge P R Patel has convicted 31 accused while acquitting 63 others," public prosecutor JM Panchal said after the verdict inside the Sabarmati jail.
"On 25th February, there will be a hearing on the point of sentence, and after that quantum of punishment will be pronounced," Mr Panchal said.
"The conspiracy theory has been accepted by the court," he said.
Scientific evidence, statement of witnesses, circumstantial and documentary evidence placed on record formed the basis of the judgement.
The trial conducted inside the Sabarmati Central Jail here began in June 2009 with the framing of charges against 94 accused in the carnage that had triggered widespread communal riots in Gujarat.
The accused have been charged with criminal conspiracy and murder in burning of the S-6 coach of the train on 27 February 2002 near Godhra, about 125 km from here in which 59 people were killed.
"We can reduce the impact of high rising prices... If we could develop PDS, at least we would be able to protect these vulnerable sections...," finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said
New Delhi: Maintaining that "some inflationary pressure" will remain in a growing economy, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today urged the states to strengthen the public distribution system (PDS) to enable the government insulate the poor from the adverse impact of inflation, reports PTI.
Replying to members' concerns during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, Mr Mukherjee said the Centre is waiting for a report on how to strengthen and restructure the existing PDS in the country.
He informed the house that a committee consisting of some chief ministers to look into the issue was constituted in February last year after a conference of chief ministers here whose report is awaited.
Admitting that there was a big difference between the price paid to a producer and the one paid by a consumer, Mr Mukherjee said, "We shall have to take steps but this cannot be tackled by the central government alone."
He was responding to a question by Congress member T Ratna Bai who asked the government about the measures being taken to control inflation.
"We can reduce the impact of high rising prices... If we could develop PDS, at least we would be able to protect these vulnerable sections...," Mr Mukherjee said listing out schemes for providing foodgrains at cheaper rates to below poverty line (BPL) families.
"In a growing economy, it will be difficult to say there would be no inflationary pressure.... price increase is taking place all over the world. Some impact will be there. As a growing economy, some amount of inflationary pressure would be there," he said.
He, however, quickly added, "It is indeed the responsibility of the government to see it remains within manageable limits."
Replying to a supplementary by Ravishankar Prasad (BJP) as to when the consumer price index would come down, Mr Mukherjee noted that consumer price index of industrial workers and rural workers has come down to single digit since August last year well after a gap of 16 months.
The minister agreed with Shivanand Tewari (JD-U), who said that the income of common man should also increase along with the growth in economy.
"This is an effort, the government has to do....this is the exercise we have to make," Mr Mukherjee said adding the central government's flagship programme MNREGA has increased the purchasing capacity of rural households.
Mr Mukherjee also sought to remind Brinda Karat (CPI-M) that the minimum wages in West Bengal was Rs56, when the central government had fixed Rs60 as the wage to be paid to MNREGA workers in the past.
"I am afraid, madam, I would not be entering into debate.
...When I had fixed Rs60 as minimum wage, the minimum wage in West Bengal was Rs56," he said adding that a worker can purchase at least two kilograms of rice when the minimum wage is Rs100 but he can do very little if the wage is Rs8 or Rs10.
Mr Mukherjee also said strengthening of PDS is "essentially the job of the state government" adding that the Union government cannot be expected to monitor PDS from Delhi.
"If they (states) have an effective PDS system, we will be able to insulate these people from the adverse impact of inflation," he added.