An ACB court in Gandhinagar Saturday issued a non-bailable warrant against BJP minister Parshottam Solanki in the alleged Rs 400-crore fisheries scam. ACB Court Judge R M Vora issued the warrant against Solanki under section 70 of the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) after he failed to respond to the summons and a bailable warrant issued against him by the same court.
Solanki is the MLA from Bhavnagar (Rural) and is the minister of state for fisheries in the Vijay Rupani-led Gujarat government. The Gujarat High Court had recently rejected petitions of Solanki as well as former minister of state for fisheries Dileep Sanghani challenging the proceedings initiated against them by a special Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) court in the alleged scam.
Solanki and Sanghani had moved the high court after the ACB court in Gandhinagar issued summons to them based on the ACB inquiry report. The case dates back to 2008 when Solanki was the minister of the state of fisheries and Sanghani the cabinet minister for agriculture.
Complainant Ishaq Maradia had accused Solanki of illegally granting contracts for fishing in 58 reservoirs across the state. After the Gujarat government, led by the chief minister Narendra Modi, refused sanction to prosecute Solanki, Maradia moved the high court in 2012.
During past hearings in the high court, Solanki had said the contracts were granted by Sanghani as he was then designated as a cabinet minister. Then Gujarat governor Kamla Beniwal, on July 30, 2012, overruled the state cabinet and sanctioned Solanki's prosecution under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Maradia then moved the ACB court demanding criminal prosecution of Solanki and Sanghani. After the case was registered against the two, the special court asked the ACB to conduct an inquiry in May 2013. The report was submitted before the ACB court in 2015 which indicated irregularities in the award of contracts for fisheries.
(With inputs from agencies.)