Nagpur: It is said that justice delayed is justice denied! But what can be said of the case which was not even heard for justice even after 16 years. The sports equipment purchase scam that indicated rampant corruption in Nagpur Municipal Corporation in 2002-02 has now finally come up for hearing at the bench of justice D P Ragit who would hear the case from September 17. Work on framing of charges against the accused started in the first week of August and concluded on Wednesday. So far, charges have been framed against 109 accused.
Ironcally seven of the accused have died in the long time leading to the hearing, before they could be brought to justice. Many of the 120 accused are former BJP corporators and civic officers. There are two sitting MLAs and 30 corporators amongst the accused.
According to information, offences have been framed against the then sports officer Sahebrao Raut, Asha Banarsi, MLA Krishna Khopde, MLA Vikas Kumbhare, former mayor Kalpana Pande, Archana Dehankar, Vikram Pankule, Ramesh Singare, Anil Dhawad, Milind Ganar, Rajjan Chavria, Bandu Parwe, Yashwant Meshram, Raju Bahadure, Kishore Gajbhiye and Pramod Pendke.
The scam came to light in 2000 and on September 2001, the Congress government in power in the State then, dissolved NMC general body. T Chandrashekhar was appointed administrator then and investigation was handed over to the committee headed by IAS officer Nandlal Gupta.
The committee unearthed a scam involving more than Rs 2.50 crore. Based on committee’s report and complaint of NMC deputy commissioner Rizwan Siddiqui, Sadar police registered offences against 120 accused under section 420, 468 and 471 of IPC. City crime branch was also involved in the investigation. Former PI S P Chavan is the investigating officer of the scam. On Wednesday, MLA Khopde, MLA Kumbhare and many former and present corporators attended Nagpur bench of Mumbai High Court as accused. They were represented by Adv Uday Dable, Adv Subhash Ghare, Adv Parikshit Mohite and Adv Lubesh Meshram.