In an unusual move, Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Mumbai police commissioner to attach the properties of state Congress chief Kripashankar Singh and his family members over charges of amassing wealth disproportionate to his means.
Meanwhile, Singh, who was removed from the post, met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Wednesday. In Mumbai, Congress leader in-charge of Maharashtra Mohan Prakash said, “Singh sent his resignation on the day the results of the election to Brihan Mumbai Corporation were out. It has been accepted.”
Holding that prima facie case of criminal misconduct was made out against Singh, the HC ordered his prosecution under the Prevention of Corruption Act. “We can easily conclude prima facie that a cognisable offence is disclosed against Singh,” the court observed while directing police chief Arup Patnaik to investigate.
The court directed Patnaik to attach all movable and immovable properties held by the leader and his family.
Patnaik was told to treat a PIL filed by city resident Sanjay Dinanath Tiwari as an FIR and submit his investigation report by April 19. During the course of hearing on the PIL, the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau had conducted an inquiry into the assets held by Singh and his family and came to a conclusion that he and his wife Maltidevi held 11.59% disproportionate assets.
The ACB had, however, earlier decided not to prosecute Singh, owing to its policy of not pursuing cases revealing 10% or less disproportionate assets.
The division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi, however, rejected the ACB conclusion. “Such calculation would beat our arithmetic as much as our conscience,” the judges observed.
A plea by Singh’s lawyer seeking a stay on the order was rejected.