Chargesheet filed against Babanrao
The Times of India News Service
MUMBAI: The anti-corruption bureau (ACB) has filed a chargesheet against former state social welfare minister Babanrao Gholap and his wife Shashikala for allegedly amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.
The chargesheet was filed before additional sessions judge S.P. Kukaday last Friday, after the ACB obtained permission from speaker of the legislative assembly, Arun Gujarathi to prosecute Mr Gholap on May 17 (The speaker's approval is required since Mr Gholap is a member of the house).
Last year, Mr Kukaday had directed the ACB to conduct an inquiry into Mr Gholap's assets following a complaint lodged by social worker Milind Yavatkar in January 1999 that the former minister had amassed wealth disproportionate to his known source of income.
According to the chargesheet filed before the court, investigations into Mr Gholap and his wife's wealth have revealed disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 99 lakhs. ``Mr Gholap amassed his wealth within a span of 10 years-- after he was elected as a legislator in March 1990. He has invested most of his wealth in real estate and that too, in his wife's name,'' the chargesheet stated.
``Until 1990, Mr Gholap did not have any substantial means of income. Besides doing several odd jobs, he was a vegetable vendor in his native village Girnare in Nashik. In fact, in 1987, he had borrowed a loan of Rs 500 from Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojana for purchasing a loudspeaker which he repaid in 1997. He shared a 20 X 15 ft room with his two brothers and his family,'' the chargesheet further stated.
In his complaint, Mr Yavatkar had also alleged that the former minister had criminal records against him. According to ACB sources, police records show that Mr Gholap was convicted in two gambling cases -in 1972 and 1983.
It may be recalled that Mr Gholap was arrested and chargesheeted in 1998 for his alleged involvement in embezzlement of government funds from three state-owned corporations -the Mahatma Phule Backward Class Development Corporation, the Vasantrao Naik Corporation and the Loksahir Annabhau Sathe Development Corporation.
The funds of these corporations, pending their disbursement, are required to be deposited with nationalised banks as per government rules. However, in violation of these rules, the corporations had deposited Rs 5 crore with the Awami Mercantile Cooperative Bank, which was under liquidation. The Reserve Bank had even imposed a ban on the bank from accepting any deposits. After the maturity period was over, Awami Bank failed to return the amount and the accrued interest. Only Rs 50 lakhs was returned to the Loksahir Corporation, while Rs 4.5 crore was embezzled and siphoned off. Following his arrest, the former Shiv Sena minister was dropped from the party.