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SC clears decks for arrest of Nayak, Khot in Maharashtra

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 12 (UNI) Clearing the decks for the arrest of Maharashtra Transport Minister Swaroop Singh Nayak and the State Additional Chief Secretary Ashok Khot, the Supreme Court today dismissed their review petition, seeking review of the court's order dated May 10 sentencing the two to one month simple imprisonment for the contempt of court.

A three judge bench comprising Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal, Justice Arijit Pasayat and Jutice S H kapadia today also dismissed their application seeking suspension of the sentence.

Nayak and Khot were found guilty of disobeying the Supreme Court orders by permitting the six saw mills to operate in the reserved forest area of the state in April 2004 despite the 1997 court orders directing closure of all such mills in the green belt as these mills were damaging not only the environment but also the greenry of the area.

Nayak was State Forest minister and Khot was State's Principal Forest Secretary in 2004.

The court found them guilty of inserting notes in officials files to circumvent the Supreme Court orders.

The contemnors in their reviews petition had tendered unconditional apology and Nayak had taken the plea that the mills were granted license by the Union government and he was not in the picture. He also took the plea of old age. Ashok Khot had contended that it was purely a political decision and he only carried out the orders of his political master.

It may be noted that in the main judgement rejecting the unconditional apology the court had said, ''We are sorry to say that the court does not subscribe to 'slap-say sorry, and forget' school of thought.'' The court had also observed that the feeling of sorrow should not come from mouth but it should come from heart.

The court had also rejected the contention of the minister that he had studied only upto secondary level and was a member of scheduled tribe category.


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