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NAGPUR: Holding that the administrative and procedural lapses would be insufficient to raise strong suspicion in absence of material to suggest that the petitioner acted with fraudulent intent, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court quashed all charges levelled against Sanjay Kholapurkar. He was Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s former officer on special duty (OSD).

Kholapurkar was booked by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in the cases related to multi-crore irrigation scam under Sections 13(1)(c), 13(1)(d) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act) and 420, 468, 471, 109, 120-B of IPC. The ACB’s deputy superintendent of police had accused Kholapurkar of hatching a criminal conspiracy, committing an offence of cheating, and forgery of documents to favour the contractors by illegally increasing the estimated tender cost.

The petitioner filed an application in the special court here to discharge him from the offences, but it was rejected on November 2, 2018. He then challenged this decision in HC through counsel Shyam Dewani.

“At the stage of framing the charge, detailed evaluation of material is not required. However, limited sifting of material is expected for the purpose of ascertaining whether there is a case for proceeding with the trial. No doubt, strong suspicion is sufficient, but it must be founded on some material which can be translated into evidence. There is no sufficient material to presume commission of offence. The trial court erred in rejecting petitioner’s discharge application,” justice Vinay Joshi said while quashing the November 2, 2018 order of the special court.

Prior to joining Gadkari, Kholapurkar was working as superintending engineer (SE) at the Gosikhurd project. He was in-charge of rehabilitation and right bank canal in Bhandara and Chandrapur districts. He had resigned from the OSD’s post after his name surfaced in the scam, particularly related to alleged irregularities into Gosikhurd right canal (Ghodazari branch canal) construction.


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