HC stays construction of minister's 'illegal' factory

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 09 April 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Bombay high court on Friday stayed the construction of a sugar factory allegedly run by the relatives of Cabinet minister Harshvardhan Patil. Patil holds the portfolio of Cooperation and Textiles Department.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha heard a petition by the grampanchayat of Ashti village, Mohol taluka, Solapur saying the constructed is being illegally carried out on agricultural land and will destroy its only drinking water source due to effluents discharge.

The petition states that AshtiTalao, built during the British era, is the only source of drinking water to the local population as well as that of 25 villages within a 50 kilometre radius. It alleged that Patil's wife Bhagyashree is the chairman and managing director of Audumberraoji Patil Sakhar Karkhana Limited. Also that anextract derived from the office of the registrar of companies has shown the names of the wife, mother and daughter of the minister.

The gram panchayat's advocate Shriniwas Patwardhan argued that while permission was sought for one plot, the construction is being carried out on another. Factory's counsel V A Thorat said all requisite permission has been obtained from MPCB and also from the deputy sarpanch of the gram panchayat. "We have not violated any provisions of the law," he added.

Patwardhan urged the court to restrain the construction until the entire list of permissions is placed before the court. Directing a stay on the construction, the judges directed the compilation of permissions to be placed before the court and posted the next hearing on April 30, 2013.

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