HC wants to examine more files of bills reimbursement

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Mumbai, Mar 5 (UNI) The Bombay High Court today directed the Maharashtra Legislature to produce all papers related to Medical Bills reimbursed to sitting Congress MLA from Jalgaon district Ramesh Viththal Chaudhari and ex-MLA R D Patil for examination as to how exactly these members of Legislature managed to receive reimbursement of more than Rs 20 lakh each.

A division bench, comprising Justices Bilal Nazki and Sharad Bobde, asked the Advocate General (AG) Ravi Kadam as to whether it was case of only non-compliance of rules or deliberately false information was provided to obtain reimbursement amouts.

The judges also wanted to know whether any criminal liability was created by erring MLAs and if it was so, concerned MLAs must face prosecutions.

The AG informed the court that, a high power committee of the State Legislature was looking into the issue of medical reimbursments made to sitting and ex-MLAs, adding that the Committee had found 32 cases in order, minor discrepancies in 65 cases where more than Rs one lakh were disbursed. The AG also informed the court that the committee has also found the case of Chaudhari-- who had received reimbursement of more than Rs 20 lakh during last two years 'not complying with provisions of rules' and steps were being taken to recover the amount.

Thereafter when Bhagwanji Rahiyani, functionary of petitioner organisation Janhit Manch, pointed out case of an ex-MLA Patil having received more than Rs 28 lakhs in a year, the court asked the AG to submit, by next date of hearing, files related to the two MLAs to examine the aspect of criminal liability.

The state Legislature has set up a high powered Committee after the high court found certain medical bills reimbursed to at least four MLAs including ex-minister Padmasinh Patil, Ramesh Chaudhari, Sahebrao Tatte and Dr N P Hirani as doubtful. Padmasinh Patil has already refunded more than Rs 1.67 lakhs as ordered by the Committee.

Janhit Manch has filed the public interest litigation raising the issue of arbitrary reimbersements of lakhs of rupees made to several sitting and ex-members of Legislature toward medical treatment, availed either by them or their family members.

The petition contended that lakhs of rupees were paid to the members without required documents and proper scrutiny.

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