Threatening to send member of legislative assembly (MLA) Gopal Shetty to jail, the Bombay high court has summoned the Bharatiya Janata Party leader for putting up a misleading poster about a public interest litigation (PIL) pending in court.
A division bench of justice PB Majmudar and justice Amjad Sayed on Monday asked Shetty to be present in court on February 25.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by activist Edwin Britto seeking restoration of two lakes, which were filled and developed as gardens by Shetty at Borivli (West).
On February 1, the court had directed the civic body and the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) to file their respective replies. However, on the same day, Shetty put up a poster near Poisar Gymkhana in Borivli (West). The poster said ‘Satyamev Jayate’ and claimed that the high court had pulled up Britto for filing a petition. It also said that the court had praised Shetty’s efforts to construct a public garden.
GN Salunkhe, advocate for Britto, showed photographs of the poster to the court arguing that they were not only misleading, but also hampering the court proceedings as the PIL was pending for hearing.
Irked by the antics, justice Majmudar said: “Why is he [Shetty] doing publicity stunts in a pending matter? If he behaves like this we will send him to jail. Ask him to remain present in court on February 25. He must be told that he has not done any heroic act by making such statements.”
The court has also directed Shetty’s advocate to submit the income tax returns filed by the MLA.
However, Shetty claimed that his party workers had put up the poster. “But, the ultimate responsibility is mine. I am a law-abiding citizen. If the high court has called me, then I will remain present. And if it is found that I have done anything wrong, I will accept it.”
According to Britto’s petition, Mhada had developed a garden by filling up a lake spread over 3,381 sqm. Also, it beautified the area surrounding near another lake — Eksar Lake. The garden was developed from the MLA funds sanctioned by Shetty.
In the last hearing, the court had directed the civic body to preserve the natural lakes in city.