Was the MLA shielded by his Cabinet Colleague from criminal action?
A reply to a RTI application indicates that the Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Board (GWSSB) and civil supplies minister Mr. Narottam Patel had shielded the then President of the Gram Vikas Samiti, Gariadhar, Keshubhai Nakhrani and 11 others from criminal action a decade ago. Mr. Nakrani is a four times BJP MLA from Sinhor-Gariadhar.
The Gram Vikas Samiti, Gariadhar, had bagged the project to build 58 underground tanks for rainwater harvesting in Surnivas village in Bhavnagar in 1999. As a part of a public-private partnership arrangement, the government bore 90% expenses while 10% were to be borne by the trust. The government paid Rs 13,500 per tank in each of the 58 houses of Surnivas village which was claimed by the trust headed by Nakrani while not constructing 12 tanks. The documents revealed under RTI show that both GWSSB and the vigilance commission had found Nakrani and his trust guilty but instead of filing a criminal complaint, only a civil complaint was filed to recover the money in 2006. The board decided to withdraw the complaint after Nakrani paid back Rs 1.72 lakh.
The RTI reply includes a copy of the letter by then Dy Engineer, Public Health and Construction Department, A G Gohel, to the then Member Secretary, GWSSB, in 2006 which states, "...on 4 July, 2006, Minister Narottam Patel called me up at 11:00 and instructed me that before filling a police complaint, I should get written permission from him. So, we request you to discuss this matter with the minister.''