Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will have to face trial in a case relating to his election affidavit of 2014 after the Supreme Court refused to review its earlier order that criminal proceedings be started against him. Mr. Fadnavis had sought reprieve from the top court after a court in Nagpur summoned him over the accusation that he concealed information about two pending criminal cases against him in his election affidavit filed in 2014.
Cases of cheating and forgery were filed against Devendra Fadnavis in 1996 and 1998, but charges were not framed in either case.
Last year, a Nagpur-based lawyer had approached the local court, asking that criminal proceedings be started against Mr. Fadnavis, who was the local MLA. In his petition, Satish Uke alleged that Mr. Fadnavis did not disclose the information about the cases in his election affidavit.
But the court dismissed the petition and its order was upheld by the Bombay High Court.
In October, the Supreme Court gave a go-ahead to the local court to take up the issue. The Nagpur court issued notice to Mr. Fadnavis the next month, “for an offense punishable under section 125A of Representation of People Act, 1951”.
Mr. Fadnavis claimed the cases were politically motivated. “The two cases against me are for carrying out public protests and not any personal or private complaint against me,” Mr. Fadnavis had said. He also said the cases have already been settled.
In his review petition in the Supreme Court, Mr. Fadnavis had argued that he did not suppress any information relating to conviction or where charges were framed.
The section under which trial is going on is also wrong and that he cannot be charged under that section, he argued. His lawyer had also said that in this situation, Mr. Fadnavis can only be penalized and there cannot be any criminal case against him.
Mr. Fadnavis – handpicked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah as the Chief Minister in 2014 — had retained his Nagpur seat in last year’s assembly election, which saw the BJP emerge as the single largest party. But he failed to form the government after the falling out with ally Shiv Sena overpower share in the state.
(With inputs from ndtv)