Incorrect to say SC allowed Fadnavis' prosecution: CMO

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. (PTI File Photo)

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' office on Tuesday said it is "totally wrong and contemptuous" to say that the Supreme Court has allowed his prosecution in a case of alleged suppression of criminal matters in the 2014 poll affidavit.

The apex court's judgement has no bearing on Fadnavis to continue as a public representative or to contest the next election, the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said in a statement.

The CMO's response came after Supreme Court set aside the Bombay High Court order which had given him a clean chit in the case and held that he did not deserve to be tried for the alleged offences under the Representation of People (RP) Act.

The apex court's order came on an appeal of one Satish Ukey against the high court verdict.

The petitioner had alleged that Fadnavis, in his election affidavit filed in 2014, failed to disclose the pendency of two criminal cases against him.

The CMO in the statement said the complainant had moved a trial court, saying that two cases which were private complaints filed by one lawyer against the chief minister, were not mentioned in the affidavit.

The case was argued in the trial court with a demand to prosecute the chief minister for concealing the criminal cases in his election affidavit, it said.

The trial court dismissed the plea following which the complainant went to the sessions court, the CMO said.

The sessions court set aside the judgement and remanded it back to the trial court, saying it has not passed a speaking order.

This was challenged by the chief minister in the high court, which set aside the sessions court order and said no case is made out, the CMO informed.

The complainant then went to the Supreme Court and it has "remanded" back the case to the trial court for fresh consideration, it said.

"Hence, it will again be heard in the trial court to ascertain whether a case for the prosecution is made out or not. Hence, it is totally wrong and contemptuous to say that the Supreme Court has allowed prosecution," the CMO said.

Giving details of the two cases against the chief minister, the CMO said in the early 1990s, when Fadnavis was a corporator, he filed a complaint to the government to remove a government pleader and published it in the press, against which the lawyer went for a criminal definition against him.

"This defamation is now withdrawn by the said lawyer," the CMO mentioned.

The second case is about a slum where Fadnavis, as a corporator, gave a letter to the civic body to apply tax on the slum properties.

This land was under an urban land ceiling dispute and the same lawyer mentioned above, claiming that the land belongs to him, filed a complaint against the corporation authorities and Fadnavis.

"Later, this complaint was dismissed by the high court," the CMO statement said.

In both the cases, Fadnavis was acting in public interest and no private interest was involved, it said.

"This judgement of SC has no bearing on Fadnavis to continue as public representative or to contest the next election," the CMO stated.

On July 23, the Supreme Court, while reserving the verdict, said the alleged "omission" by Fadnavis of not disclosing information about two criminal cases in his election affidavit in the 2014 Assembly polls may be decided in the trial.

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