High Court rejects ex-NIT officer Waswani’s plea

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Jan 2018 12:21:29

Staff Reporter,

HC approves special court order granting pardon to co-accused architect Chichghare

In another setback for ex-officer of Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) Nanak Pesumal Waswani, Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has rejected his application questioning the order of Special Court granting pardon to another co-accused and architect Suresh Keshavrao Chichghare. Justice Atul Chandurkar while refusing to interfere in the order passed by special court at the behest of an co-accused found no illegality or irregularity in granting pardon to Chichghare and treat him as an approver in case filed under Prevention of Corruption Act.

On a complaint lodged by a builder Deshraj, the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) had caught Chichghare while accepting a sum of Rs 7 lakh allegedly on behalf of Waswani a decade ago and later also arrested Waswani. Then Home Minister R R Patil had deputed senior IPS officer Hemant Karkare to conduct an open probe against Waswani and several complaints were filed against him.

Later, Chichghare moved an application seeking grant of pardon under section 307 of the Criminal Procedure Code by undertaking to make a full and true disclosure of the circumstances within his knowledge relating to the offence initially to ACB and later to special court. Waswani opposed the application and himself moved separate application seeking grant of pardon. This application was opposed by the prosecution and by a common order dated January3, 2011, the Special Court rejected both the applications.

Thereafter, the prosecution moved another application on May 19, 2011 seeking pardon be tendered to Chichghare so as to enable him to depose about the manner in which the offence was committed. This application was again opposed by Waswani and he again moved a separate application seeking grant of the pardon to him. By a common order dated July 13, 2012, the Special Court allowed the application for grant of pardon to Chichghare, but rejected the application moved on behalf of Waswani.

This order was challenged by Waswani before the High Court contending that Special Court should not have entertained the plea even by prosecution in absence of any fresh material or additional facts being available. Waswani further claimed that pardon ought to have been granted to him instead of Chichghare and alleged that the architect was main culprit and he was unnecessarily implicated. The High Court while rejecting this application noted that Special Court initially rejected both the applications and later prosecution after obtaining opinion of the Government Pleader and permission from Director ACB moved application on its own to make Chichghare as an approver after complying with all formalities.