HC discharges PWD engineer booked in irrigation scam related case
Justice AM Badar noted that there was hardly any evidence against the PWD engineer.Updated: May 21, 2020 19:22 IST
The Bombay high court (HC) on Tuesday discharged the then executive engineer of the public works department (PWD) from a case related to the state irrigation scam.
Anilkumar Gaikwad, the then executive engineer of presidency division of PWD, was booked by the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) in September 2015, along with partners of FA Enterprises - Fateh Mohammed Khatri and his sons Nisar, Jaitun, Aabid and Jahid.
According to ACB, the Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation does not allot any contract to a contractor who has already been awarded three dam construction contracts. FA Contractors had six works allotted to it and in order to have more irrigation contracts, formed a new firm--FA Enterprises-- and claimed that it was made by directors who resigned from FA Contractors.
Gaikwad is accused of overlooking the rules and forwarding a proposal for registration of FA Enterprises as Class-1A contractor with the government. It was alleged that he forwarded the proposal without proper scrutiny of documents submitted by the contractor.
He had moved HC after the special ACB court rejected his discharge plea on March 15, 2019.
Justice AM Badar overruled the special court’s order due to lack of evidence against Gaikwad. The judge also took into consideration a government resolution (GR) issued by the PWD on November 28, 2018, that exempted all its employees from penal consequences arising out of the scrutiny of documents submitted by contractors.
The judge said that according to the GR, PWD employees or officials who may be entrusted with the work of checking documents submitted by contractors shall not be held responsible for penal consequences in respect of scrutiny of such documents if those turn out to be false and fabricated.
“As this GR has retrospective effect, continuation of prosecution against the applicant (Gaikwad) which is essentially with an allegation that he has not ascertained veracity and truthfulness of the documents submitted by the FA Enterprises, would certainly amount to abuse of the process of court,” said justice Badar.
The judge also noted that there was hardly any evidence against the PWD engineer. “Perusal of the entire chargesheet does not reveal iota of evidence for even prima facie demonstration of an offence of criminal misconduct on the part of the applicant,” said justice Badar, exonerating Gaikwad.
The HC also noted that the entire file relating to registration and certification of FA Enterprises as Class-1A government contractor had gone missing and no original document was available to shed light on the entire episode of registration of FA Enterprises.