'Modi gave away ecologically sensitive land'

'Modi gave away ecologically sensitive land'

The Congress on Tuesday launched a fresh attack on Narendra Modi, accusing him of subverting the constitutional process in order to allot ecologically sensitive land in Gujarat to a prominent detergent company.

AICC spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said Modi had allocated 8,500 acres of land in 2007 to a detergent company to set up a cement factory in the Bhavnagar district. 

He claimed 7,500 acres were meant for mining limestone, while the other 1,000 acres was for setting up a cement factory.

“The 1,000-acre land allocated for the cement factory was listed as reservoir land,” said Singhvi. He said the allocation of land for the cement factory was done on the basis of legal opinion of the Advocate General of Gujarat Kamal Trivedi.
He added that in 2002, Trivedi, then additional attorney general of Gujarat, had submitted an affidavit in Gujarat High Court stating: “No water body will be alienated or given away.”

Singhvi wanted to know whether the Modi-led Gujarat government had acted fairly, legally and objectively in allocating “reservoir land” to a private company by circumventing the 2002 Gujarat High Court judgment delivered on its affidavit for non-conversion of water bodies to serve any other purpose.

Singhvi claimed Trivedi was partner in a law firm and had transferred his share to his wife after being appointed additional advocate general in 2001. Trivedi was appointed advocate general in 2007.

He said 142 cases have been fought between the detergent company and the state of Gujarat, of which the latter has lost 98 cases. “The firm representing the company in all these cases was Trivedi and Gupta Advocates, owned by Trivedi's wife,” he said.

Of the 98 cases the state government lost, 24 were argued on behalf of the state by the advocate general himself, said Singhvi.

“Is it constitutionally feasible, legally tenable and ethically correct for an advocate general to represent the state government and his wife’s firm to represent a private party in as many as 24 cases, more so when the exchequer loses those cases to private parties?” asked Singhvi.

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