The Gujarat High Court has admitted a petition seeking prosecution of the state fisheries minister, Purshottam Solanki, for his alleged involvement in a multi-crore fishing contract scam.
The petition was admitted by Justice J C Upadhyay after a preliminary hearing, the next hearing is on March 20.
The petition has been filed by Ishaq Maradia, resident of Bhagal village in Banaskantha district, following the state government's refusal to sanction Solanki's prosecution.
Maradia had approached HC in 2008, alleging that Solanki received over Rs 11 crore for award of fishing contracts at 58 reservoirs, including Bhadar, Aji-3, Fofal and Machhu dams, and seeking cancellation of contracts.
An affidavit by an office-bearer of Shree Vatrak Jalasay Matsya Udyog Mandali, attached to the petition, claimed that Solanki demanded Rs 30 lakh from the group for fishing contract at Vatrak dam.
The contracts for 58 reservoirs were awarded for a mere Rs 2.4 crore, the petition said, alleging a loss of Rs 400 crore to the state.
The High Court, in response to Maradia's petition, cancelled all the fishing contracts, and passed strictures against Solanki.
Following this, Maradia approached the government for criminal prosecution of Solanki for corruption. After some delay, the sanction to prosecute the minister was denied, so he moved the High Court again.