6 tribal dept files taken into HC custody

Mumbai, Nov. 2 -- The Bombay high court on Thursday took six files from Maharashtra's tribal development department into its custody after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) alleged misappropriation of funds to the tune of crores of rupees.

Earlier this week, a division bench of justice VM Kanade and justice P M Kode had ordered the government to produce the files after the PIL seeked a probe.

Filed by one Bahiram Motiram, the PIL states that the department has disbursed crores of rupees for tribal welfare, but the money had not translated into any tangible results.

Advocate Rajendra Raghuvanshi, appearing for the petitioner, had argued that the government's tribal development department had suggested providing facilities and health supplements for tribals in view of recent malnutrition deaths. In March this year, the department had proposed it would provide protein supplements among others to the tribals. The very next day, nearly Rs11 crore was disbursed without calling for any tenders, Raghuvanshi had said.

Raghuvanshi also said that two letters, written in 2010 and 2011, had been sent from the tribal department to the Nandurbar police and Dhule police urging them to register an offence against corrupt deparment officials, but no action was taken.

The court on Thursday asked the registrar general to seal all the files. A request by the government pleader for photocopies was turned down. The bench asked the government and CBI to file replies by November 5.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.