SC rejects Maharashtra’s plea in Dabhol project case

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New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) More than two decades after the Maharashtra government scrapped the Dabhol Power Project, set up by the Enron Power Corporation, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the state government if it was inclined to inquire into its alleged inconsistent stand from time to time.

Seeking response from the Maharashtra government on whether it would like the inquiry, which is on hold, to go on, the apex court Bench, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, sought the assistance of the officers, who might have retired, but are conversant with the matter.

The officers of the Maharashtra government were part of the Madhav Godbole fact finding committee, which inquired into the awarding of the contract.

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The next hearing is on March 13.

The court sought the state’s response while not accepting its contention that the petition by the Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has become infructuous as the Dabhol Power Company has shut and a new entity, Ratnagiri Gas Power Project Limited, was running the plant.

“Because you have taken over the entity does not mean the proceedings with regards to irregularities become infructuous,” Chief Justice Gogoi said.

The Maharashtra government argued on account of “long time and change of time”, the petition may be disposed off as infractuous.

The court in its May 2, 1997 order had said the CITU petition raised two questions — validity of the project and the contract known as Dabhol Power Project and the accountability of the Maharashtra government, particularly on account of the inconsistent stand taken by it from time to time.

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In the same order, the court had said it was not in public interest to reopen the question of the validity of the project and awarding of contract as the same was considered on several occasions in earlier PILs.

The Supreme Court order said it was in public interest to consider the second issue relating to the accountability of the Maharashtra government, particularly, on account of the inconsistent stand taken by it.

–IANS

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