HC indicts Mauvin in power scam

| 25 June 2001 22:59 IST

Following Dayanand Narvekar, Mauvin Godinho, yet another former Congress minister, is in the dock as the high court has held him responsible in a multi-crore power rebate scandal that took place in 1996.

Incidentally, a petition in this regard was filed by BJP chief minister Manohar Parrikar, who was then the MLA. Godinho, after splitting from the ruling Congress to form a short-lived coalition government two years ago, has recently joined back the Congress.

The state government, in 1991, had issued a notification granting 25 per cent subsidy on power for the new industrial units, which had applied for availing power connection since October '91, for the period of five years. Subsequently, the state had rescinded the notification on 31 March 1995, due to financial crunch.

In spite of this, Godinho gave rebirth to a dead notification while also including a new category of extra high tension category, primarily to grant the subsidy facility to the power guzzlers like ferro alloy units. He issued two such notifications in 1996, within three months.

At least 85 industries learnt to have benefited from it till the notification was then suspended in March 1998, costing the state treasury to the tune of around Rs 50 crore. Parrikar had then also filed a police complaint against Godinho in this regard.

After hearing the petition, the local bench of the Mumbai high court has now quashed the notification issued during Godinho's tenure, considering it as null and void. The court has also directed the state government to take consequential action as per its order, though no specific directives are given for taking action against Godinho.

The police investigations based on two different complaints, filed against Godinho by Parrikar in 1998 and by the anti-corruption bureau this month, would now gain momentum. "We are examining the court order", said DIG Karnal Singh.

While considering Godinho's order as invalid, the division bench comprising Justice B H Marlepalle and Justice A M Khanwilkar stated that it cannot be considered a government decision due to non-compliance of any kind of rules.

In spite of the notification having financial implications, the court observed that Godinho had not sought concurrence of the finance department or the industries department while it was also not placed before the cabinet or the chief minister.

"Following business rules is mandatory for arriving at an executive decision, or otherwise it is not to be held as the decision of the state government", stated the division bench in its order which was dictated in the open court consecutively for the last three days.

The government officials are however maintaining mysterious silence over whether the huge amount would be recovered from the industries and what action would it take against former power minister Godinho, who is presently the opposition legislator.

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