In a move that will initiate prosecution of Lavasa Corporation, a Pune court ordered issue of process against nine directors and six officials of the Corporation on Thursday.
All the fifteen persons, including Chief Promoter Ajit Gulabchand have been asked to remain present in the court on January 30, according to the order issued by Chief Judicial Magistrate NT Ghadge. The order stated that summons to the effect will be issued by the court.
Present directors, including the non executive directors, will be summoned in the court. This includes Mr Gulabchand’s daughter Shalaka Gulabchand and several prominent businesspersons in the state: Venky’s co-owner Anuradha Desai, builder Anniruddha Deshpande, and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s close aide and businessman Vitthal Maniar.
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), by the directives of the Bombay High Court, had filed a criminal complaint under Sections 15 and 16 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 with the court on November 4 against directors and officials of Lavasa Corporation for violating environmental laws. MPCB’s contention is that the Corporation failed to obtain the necessary clearances from the Centre according to the Environment Impact Assessment Notification,1994 as amended in 2004 and 2006.
Thursday’s court order was passed under Section 16 read with section 15, MPCB legal Officer D.T. Deole told The Hindu.
While Section 16 allows the prosecution of, “every person who, at the time the offence was committed, was directly in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company”, it is Section 15 that states that the accused can “face a penalty of Rs 1 lakh and imprisonment of up to five years or both.”
Directors K.G.Tendulkar, S.K.Khandelwal, S.K.Dharmadhikari, Sharad M. Kulkarni and Gautam Thapar were named by the MPCB. Lavasa officials include Chief Planning Officer S.P. Pendharkar, Chief Planner Ambuj Jain, Chief Operating Officer S Narayan and Associate Vice President Dnyanadeo Ghorpade.