HC seeks report on allegations of Pujariís underworld links

The Bombay High Court Monday asked the state government whether it had inquired into the allegations of underworld links against Sudhakar Pujari, the investigating officer of the 2001 Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) answer paper scam.

Hearing a PIL filed by National Amnesty and Redemption Organisation International Trust, an NGO, a division bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and K K Tated directed that if no inquiry has been initiated against Pujari, the state government must file an affidavit stating the reasons for not conducting an inquiry.

The petitioner's lawyer told the court that several high-ranking police officials, including the then Mumbai Commissioner of Police and the Director General of Police, Maharashtra Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) made notings on files stating that Pujari had links with underworld. However, no inquiry has been conducted into the case and no action has been taken against him, the NGO claimed.

The NGO stated that if the notings were in fact made by high-ranking police officers then Pujari, a senior inspector, should not be allowed to continue in the police force. Pujari is currently posted at the training division at Naigaon.

In his defence, Pujari contended that the PIL against him was motivated by the accused in MPSC scam and he was being targeted because as he had conducted an impartial probe, which was monitored by the High Court.

The state government, however, informed the court that inquiries were conducted into the various allegations against Pujari, and nothing was found against him. The court, however, asked government to seek instructions about the inquiry made into the alleged notings made by the senior police officers and adjourned the case till January 28.

According to ACB, in 2001, marksheets were manipulated during the selection process for the posts of police sub-inspectors, inspectors and assistance inspectors of sales tax. Some answer sheets were allegedly replaced for a huge sum of money.

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