The state government is sitting on the prosecution sanction sought by the police to hold a trial in the 1997 Jalgaon housing scam, in north Maharashtra.
A fortnight after the Jalgaon police applied for a prosecution sanction against minister of state from NCP Gulabrao Deokar and 52 others — including Sena’s former minister for housing Suresh Jain (main accused) and nearly 43 councillors — there has been no response from the state on the issue.
The Jalgaon police had chargesheeted 53 accused in the scam related to the construction of 11,000 houses for the poor.
The project never took off though a construction tender was floated by the council and nearly Rs46 crore of public money was siphoned off under the scheme.
Given the political pressure, an FIR in the scam was lodged only in 2006 and the investigations gained speed in the last one-and-a-half years.
However, it is now likely that political pressure will again derail the case. The additional superintendent of police, Ishu Sindhu, filed a charge sheet against the accused on June 2.
“I had applied for a prosecution sanction against Deokar and former minister for housing, Suresh Jain, before the additional secretary (home) more than 15 days ago. I had also demanded a separate prosecution against the councillors and the principal secretary for urban development. Unless we get these sanctions, the trial cannot begin,’’ said Sindhu.
Sindhu had filed his investigation report along with the application. In case of Deokar and Jain, the sanction needs the governor’s consent. So far, the home department has not forwarded the proposal to the governor, said sources in the governor’s office.
Meanwhile, the court is hearing the bail applications of the accused.
Generally, the prosecution sanction is granted after the government feels that public servants, who have been accused, have misused their position of power.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had recently commented that the sanction will come after due procedure is followed.
Deokar has been charged for criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery of documents and corruption under sections 120 (B), 420, 468, 490 of the Indian Penal Code and section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. A conviction under these charges can lead to life imprisonment.