Press Trust Of India
The Bombay High Court on Friday asked Maharashtra Medical Education Minister Dr Vijaykumar Gavit to file an affidavit in response to a PIL seeking his prosecution and that of his family members under Prevention of Corruption Act, Income Tax act and Indian Penal Code (IPC) for allegedly amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.
A bench headed by Justice S J Vajifdar asked Gavit to declare in the affidavit his sources of income with the help of which he had purchased properties alleged in the PIL.
Uday Warunjikar, counsel for petitioners who are activists from Nashik, said Gavit’s father was a teacher in Nandurbar and owned a house as well as eight hectares of land.
Gavit worked as a lecturer with an Aurangabad college until 1994. His last monthly salary as on June 1994 was Rs 9,715, the PIL said. His brother Sharad used to work as a Class-IV employee in the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC). His last drawn salary in 1994 was Rs 1,290.
Gavit contested the 1994 elections and was elected as an MLA and given charge of Tribal Development Department. When Gavit became minister, his brother Sharad was transferred to Mantralaya as a special officer. Sharad, too, contested polls in 2009 and was elected as an MLA from Navapur constituency.
Warunjikar contended that the information acquired through the Right To Information (RTI) Act, showed Gavit having personal assets of Rs 1.3 crore and his total family assets (in the name of wife and daughters) was shown as Rs 1.5 crore.
Nomination papers filed by Gavit in 2009, showed his personal assets to be worth Rs 2.23 crore, whereas his family wealth was indicated as Rs 4.78 crore.
“The rise in his wealth after he became a minister shows that it was generated by using illegal means, taking undue advantage of his status as a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) and as a minister,” the PIL alleged.
The PIL alleged that the “record of land transactions in Nandurbar district during the last 10 to 15 years showed that many people, below the poverty line who were connected to Gavit and his brother, had purchased huge properties. This showed that the Gavit family purchased those properties in the name of their loyal persons/workers.”
According to RTI, the PIL said, Sharad has personal assets worth Rs 75 lakh, whereas his family wealth (including those of wife and two daughters) is Rs 79 lakh.