The metropolitan magistrate's court has directed the Marine Drive police station to investigate allegations that Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh shielded a congress MLA from complaints by poor farmers in Buldhana district of Marathwada.
The incident in question took place in May 2006 when Deshmukh was the chief minister of Maharashtra. Farmers from Vidarbha, led by one Sarangdharsingh Chavan, filed complaints against MLA Dilip Kumar Sananda and his family for torturing them to recover the loan amount and charging an interest of 10% per month.
As many as 34 complaints were registered against the MLA and his family till June 28, 2006. However, the petitioners alleged that Deshmukh's interference ensured that no subsequent cases were registered by the police, forcing the distressed farmers to move the high court.
The high court held that Deshmukh acted in violation of the law by asking the district collector of Buldhana and Khamgaon police station not to register cases against MLA Sananda and his family members.
The state government appealed against the verdict in the Supreme Court. The apex court, however, dismissed the government's appeal and instead, increased the fine levied on the Maharashtra government from Rs25,000 per head to Rs10 lakh.
In its December 2010 order, the division bench of justices G S Singhavi and AK Ganguly condemned Deshmukh's actions in no uncertain terms and made some hard-hitting observations. The court termed the erstwhile chief minister's actions as “condemnable”, as he acted beyond “all legal norms” for “political consideration” despite the Vidharbha region having a dubious distinction of witnessing the largest number of farmer suicides.
“The chief minister's instructions are so incongruous and anachronistic, being in defiance of all logic and reason, that our conscience is deeply disturbed. We condemn the same in no uncertain terms,” the bench had said.
“The message conveyed in this case is extremely shocking and it shocks the conscience of this Court about the manner in which the Constitutional functionaries behaved in the state of Maharashtra,” the bench had said.
Last year, a private complaint was filed by one Abdul Malik Chaudhary who sought to issue process and also sought criminal proceedings against Deshmukh and the MLA. Chaudhary's lawyer, Ashish Giri, said that the court has directed the Marine Drive police to file a report after inquiry by June 11.
“We filed the case in the court in Mumbai because the cause of action has arisen from the state secretariat in Mumbai,” Giri said.