High Court order erroneous, counsel tells Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed a Bombay High Court order cancelling bail to Maharashtra Transport Minister Gulabrao Baburao Deokar, who is allegedly involved in the Rs 24-crore Jalagaon Municipal Council scandal.

Earlier, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi told a Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and J. Chelameswar that the August 6 High Court order was erroneous. He said Mr. Deokar had no involvement in the alleged scandal. Further, 40 of the 45 accused were already granted bail. It was alleged that Rs 24 crore was misappropriated by various persons, including Mr. Deokar, while executing the Gharkul Yojana for construction of 11,424 tenements to rehabilitate slum dwellers in seven wards.

The police registered cases against 46 persons, including the Minister, for criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, forgery and other offences under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Mr. Deokar and 19 co-accused ex-councillors were granted bail by a sessions court. However, the Aurangabad Bench of the High Court cancelled it on the ground that if he was released on bail, he would tamper with evidence and interfere with investigation. A charge sheet was filed against four of the main accused on April 25.