Allegation malicious, I am being victimised: Arjun Modhwadia

A controversy erupted here after the Gujarat High Court issued notice to State Congress president Arjun Modhwadia and his family following a public interest litigation alleging that they have encroached upon a public street in Porbander. Mr. Modhwadia has challenged this saying he has put up only a pre-fabricated cabin for his security guards.

Mr. Modhwadia told The Hindu that the PIL was vindictive and filed by a close supporter of Cabinet Minister Babu Bokhiria, who had himself encroached on public lands worth over Rs 200 crore. He said there were several PILs against Mr. Bokhiria in the High Court.

He said the allegation of encroachment against him was malicious. “There is no encroachment on any public street. I made the pre-fabricated tent for the benefit of policemen who are guarding me, that too on the request of the Porbander District Superintendent of Police. There is written evidence for this,” the Congress leader said. In a legal notice to the Porbander Municipality Chief Officer, Mr. Modhwadia asserted that he was being victimised because he had pointed out that the Minister had encroached public streets.

A division bench of Gujarat High Court comprising Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J.B. Pardiwala have issued notices to Mr. Modhwadia.

The PIL has been filed by Prakash Unadkat, a resident of Porbandar who, Mr. Modhwadia alleges, is close to the Minister. The petitioner’s advocate, Pranav Dave says “Modhwadia and his brother, Ramdevbhai, have encroached upon a public road in Porbandar outside their residence by constructing a structure for their personal security personnel. The Chief Officer of Porbandar Nagarpalika had, in November last, given them notice to remove the encroachment. However, till date, the authorities have failed to remove the encroachment. And, so, we have moved the PIL.”

Apart from Mr. Modhwadia and his brother, Porbandar Nagarpalika’s Chief Officer, the District Collector, the District Superintendent of Police, the Director of Municipalities and the Secretary, Revenue Department, have been issued notices by the court. The petition has been posted for further hearing on February 6.