The Supreme Court, on Friday, declined to stay the Bombay high court judgment that made stinging remarks against former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh in a case involving land allotted to filmmaker Subhash Ghai for a film institute, Whistling Woods International, in Goregaon.
The HC had declared this allotment of 20 acres of land as illegal, indicting Deshmukh of abusing his official position as the CM.
A bench of justices, HL Dattu and CK Prasad, said it would hear Deshmukh’s appeal seeking expunging of the remarks.
Deshmukh, however, has not challenged the HC verdict holding the transaction related to land allotment as illegal. Deshmukh’s counsel and senior advocate KK Venugopal said that the former CM’s signature on the joint venture agreement between Maharashtra Film, Stage and Cultural Development Corporation (MFSCDC) and Mukta Arts to run the institute was a “token of his blessings.”
The counsel further added that Deshmukh signed the agreement because he was present when the two parties entered into the venture. At this the bench asked: “Isn’t it very strange that a CM signs something like a witness. How can he be party to an agreement of this nature?”
The SC has issued notices to the respondents including CBI, MFSCDC and its managing director, Ghai’s Mukta Arts, Whistling Woods International and the Maharashtra government. Notices were also issued to individuals on whose public interest litigation (PIL) the HC had cancelled the allotment to Ghai’s institute. The SC gave all parties four weeks to file their responses to the appeal.