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New Delhi, March 14 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its judgment on the plea seeking to fix accountability of the Maharashtra government, on account of inconsistent stand taken by it from time to time, on the scrapped Dabhol Power Project that was set up by the Enron Power Corporation.
The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Sanjiv Khanna reserved the order after Maharashtra government told the court that it was collecting information on the officers who were conversant with the project and had dealt with it.
The court in the last hearing of the matter on February 14 had sought the assistance of these officers, who might have retired, but were conversant with the scrapped project that turned out to be a drain on the exchequer.
Telling the court that it was yet to receive instructions from the state government whether it was inclined to inquire into its alleged inconsistent stands taken from time to time, Maharashtra counsel Nishant Katneshwarkar, however, said that whatever the court decided would be acceptable to them.
Earlier, senior counsel Rajeev Dhawan, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae, referred to then Home Secretary Madabv Godbole Committee’s 2001 report pointing out that the failure of the government was across the board, both in administration and policies — both at the level of Maharashtra government and the Central government.
Prashant Bhushan appearing for petitioner Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) referred to the Godbole committee report to contend that there were lapses, both at the level of politicians and the officers, and it should be inquired into.
He said that it should also be inquired whether lapses were wilful and intentional, or just negligence.
The court by 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.
In the same order, the court had said it was not in public interest to reopen the question of validity of the project and awarding of contract, as the same was considered on several occasions in earlier PILs.
However, the Supreme Court order had said it was in public interest to consider the second issue relating to the accountability of the Maharashtra government, particularly on account of inconsistency in its stand.
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