News Waali latest news updates.
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into alleged disproportionate assets of former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and his family.
The court said that the petitioner is seeking a vagrant investigation without any evidence but only bare allegations and called it an abuse of the legal process. The court dismissed the petition with a cost of Rs 25,000 to be paid by the petitioner to the Advocates Welfare Fund.
“The petition and the complaint do not contain any evidence to prima facie conclude to direct a CBI or ED investigation. The petitioner is only speculating on the prosperity of the respondents (Thackeray family) without any evidence,” the bench observed.
On December 8, a division bench of Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice Valmiki Menezes reserved their order in the plea by Gouri Bhide, 38, and her 78-year-old father, seeking directions to the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the alleged disproportionate assets of Thackeray and his family.
In December, the Maharashtra government had informed the Bombay High Court that the Economic Offenses Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police had initiated a preliminary investigation into the complaint.
Thackeray’s family objected and requested dismissal of the PIL saying that such orders cannot be passed as the plea did not state the facts and an attempt is being made to avoid due procedures according to law.
Bhide, in her plea, said that her family was in the printing business like the Thackerays and had printed short supplements of late Bal Thackeray’s weekly supplement during the Emergency period. They said that the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ and ‘Marmik’ were never subject to audits by the Circulation Audit Office and that nobody knows their printing order.
He added that during the Covid-19 pandemic, the print media faced losses but Thackeray’s publication showed a record turnover of Rs 42 crore and a record profit of Rs 11.5 crore. Bhide claimed that this was a case of “turning black money into white money”.
Senior advocate Aspi Chinoy and advocate Joel Carlos, representing Uddhav and Aaditya Thackeray, argued that there was no reason to order an inquiry by central agencies without following due process.
Further, senior advocate Ashok Mundargi, for Rashmi and Tejas Thackeray, raised “serious doubts” as to how central agencies can be involved in the matter since the inception as no cognizable offense was registered by the police or through the magistrate.
“Every prayer made in the petition will have no value on doubt,” argued Mundargi. He had said that the high court could have been approached only if the people in power influenced the examiner, but in the present case, the Thackerays are not in power, and so the plea is refuse
Chief Public Prosecutor Aruna Pai had on instructions made a statement before the high court that the EOW had initiated a preliminary investigation against Thackerays on Bhide’s complaint.
Thereafter, Chinoy said that the government can do whatever it is entitled to, but “the same cannot be attached to the present PIL as it will be an abuse of the process of law”.