In a major setback for BJP MLA Ramesh Mendola, a special court in Indore on Wednesday directed that charges be framed against him and 17 others in the multi-crore Sugni Devi land grab case.
The court’s order paves the way for the trial to begin against Mendola and others.
The case has been closely followed in political and legal circles due to the involvement of Mendola, who is close to BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya.
Mendola had been insisting that he was innocent and charges were levelled against him by the Lokayukta and therefore charges should not be framed against him by the court.
He had filed an application under Section 227 of CrPC before the special court, which rejected it on Wednesday.
Lokayukta police had filed charge sheet in the Sugni Devi land scam against Mendola, officials of the Indore municipal corporation, directors of Dhanlaxmi Chemicals, its owner Vijay Kothari, officials of Indore Paraspar Sahakari Sakh Sansthan among others. In the charge sheet the Lokayukta police said the IMC had given three acre of land belonging to Sugni Devi to Dhanlaxmi chemicals on a 30-year lease.
Dhanlaxmi chemicals illegally sold the land to Indore Paraspar Sakh Sansthan for Rs 1.38 crores, without taking proper permission from the IMC. Mendola was the chairman of the bank when the deal took place.
The Sugni Devi scam was unearthed following a complaint by Suresh Seth to the Lokayukta in April 2010. Initially the Lokayukta did not entertain the complaint, but had to do so following directions from the high court. The Lokayukta finally filed charge-sheet in the case making Mendola and 17 others as accused.