The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) on Friday filed a criminal case against promoters and officials of Lavasa, a 2,000-hectare hill city project in Pune, under the Environment Protection Act (EPA), 1986.
The complaint was filed before chief judicial magistrate NT Ghatge in Pune against 15 persons including industrialist and Lavasa’s chief promoter Ajit Gulabchand, directors Anura-ddha Desai, Gautam Thapar, former director Aniruddha Deshpande and power of attorney holder Vithal Maniyar.
The complaint has been made under section 15 (which fixes penalties for not seeking environmental clearances) and section 16 (pertaining to who in the company can be held liable) of the EPA. If found guilty, the accused can face a penalty of up to Rs1 lakh or imprisonment of up to five years, or both. The court is expected to issue notices to those named in the complaint next week.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who met Union environment minister Jayanti Natarajan on Friday, said, “I have requested the Union environment ministry that if Lavasa has met all the conditions, the project should get a clearance.”
A statement by Lavasa said: “It is unfortunate that the state government, which had granted the environment clearance to Lavasa in 2004, has had to initiate this action.”