The special anti-corruption bureau (ACB) court in Gandhinagar which is hearing the plea against ex-fisheries minister Pashottam Solanki in the Rs400 crore fisheries scam, has fixed February 2 as the next date to hear request for handing over the case to the CBI or monitor by itself.
Dissatisfied with the probe of Gandhinagar police in the case involving Solanki who is now minister of state for labour and employment, the court also asked Gandhinagar police chief to file Action Taken Report (ATR) on the same day (February 2).
The police sought another four months to complete its investigation which was objected to by Dr Mukul Sinha and Vikram Thakore, the counsels appearing on behalf of complainant Ishaq Mardia, a Palanpur-based contractor.
“The police said that they were not able to probe the minister owing to his poor health prior to polls and he was during the polls. They sought extension of four more months as the minister would be busy in the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor’s summit (VGGIS),” said Sinha narrating police’s plea.
Talking to DNA, Sinha said, “We strongly objected to the probe being conducted by the local police as the Gujarat government had defended Solanki before the Gujarat high court where governor has given sanction to prosecute Solanki. And since he has been made minister once again, police will be not be able to probe impartially,” Sinha said. He said, “Police have not said anything on what they have done so far in the case as no ATR has been filed yet.”
Expressing strong reservation on the inaction of police, the petitioner has sought a CBI probe in the case. “We have asked for a CBI probe or a probe under monitoring of court.”
Reacting to development, Gandinagar police chief Sharad Singhal said, “We had sought four months’ extension and the court has granted time to file ATR by February 2.”
Solanki is in soup for his alleged role in allotment of fishing contract in state water reservoirs at throw away prices. It went on for more than six years and it cost state exchequer Rs400 crore.
The ACB court had first time asked the Gandhinagar police to probe the case in August last year and again granted extension till January 5 after the request of police in October last year.