Gujarat: Rs 400 cr fisheries scam complainant arrested

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The Gujarat police on Saturday arrested Ishak Maradia, the man whose relentless efforts had unearthed Rs 400 crore fisheries scam in the state in which sitting BJP minister Parshottam Solanki, ex-minister Dileep Sanghani were named as key accused.

According to sources, Maradia was picked up from his home on Saturday morning by a team of policemen from Palanpur taluka police station in Banaskantha district. Police said that he will be transferred to Kadana police in Mahisagar district where an FIR was registered on April 1 against him for an alleged case of attempt to murder. The complainant is said to be one Iftekar Hussain Pathan. Sources said that "Maradia and Pathan are involved in several disputes for the past many years."

DH was able to talk to Maradia over the phone from Palanpur taluka police station. He said, "This is a bogus case. Since I am fighting against the government for its ministers' involvement in fisheries scam, I have been targetted since 2008. I am telling you that in all these years, 15 FIRs have been registered against me by this government." 

Despite repeated attempts, Banaskantha police didn't respond for comments. When contacted, advocate Rahul Sharma, who has been representing Maradia in several cases, told DH, "I have come to know that Maradia has been arrested in a case registered in Kadana police station on April 1. However, the said incident took place on March 11. This is a completely false case. This involves a road accident in which Maradia has nothing to do with." 

According to details, the complainant Pathan had met with an accident with a car. It is said that Pathan didn't file any complaint and his hospital certificate also indicated that he didn't blame anyone. Sources said that the car didn't belong to Maradia. 

Maradia also claimed that he is being "victimised" for helping the victims of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, Tulsiram Prajapati, Ishrat Jahan and others. He also claimed that "I have been assisting these victims in legal cases. This is also the reason why I am facing these cases." Maradia also happens to be sarpanch of his village.

Maradia had filed a petition in High Court alleging large scale corruption in the fishing contract. It was alleged that Solanki with the help of co-accused gave the fishing contract of 58 reservoirs without following tender procedure. The high court scrapped contracts and directed the government to issue fresh tenders. Following investigation, it was established that there was a scam of Rs 400 crore in this case. The case is going on in special court in Gandhinagar. 

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