Bombay HC issues Notice to Minister on plea over hiding cases for Passport

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The Bombay High Court has issued a notice to Maharashtra minister Vijay Wadettiwar on a plea filed by a former legislator, alleging that the Congress leader had not disclosed the criminal cases pending against him while applying for passport twice in Nagpur.

Apart from the minister, the Nagpur bench of the high court on Friday also issued notices to the State Home Department, Nagpur Commissioner of Police and passport offices in Nagpur and Mumbai.

In his plea, former MLC Mitesh Bangadia demanded that a case be registered against the minister in this connection and his passport be confiscated.

Mr. Wadettiwar, who represents the Bramhapuri Assembly constituency in Chandrapur district, is minister for Relief and Rehabilitation in the MVA government.

The petitioner, through his counsel Shreerang Bhandarkar, submitted that when Mr. Waddettiwar applied for passport in Nagpur in May 2001 for the first time, he deliberately did not disclose the criminal cases pending against him. The petitioner claimed that more than 10 criminal cases were pending against Mr. Wadettiwar at that time.

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The petitioner further submitted that Mr. Wadettiwar had therefore “knowingly suppressed necessary information with a view to mislead the authorities in order to procure a passport in his favour and gave false information that there no criminal cases pending against him.”

“It is apparent from the above act that the respondent was aware that if the passport office gains knowledge about the criminal cases pending against him, passport may not be issued to him,” the petition said.

The petitioner also said that Mr. Wadettiwar applied for passport in Nagpur for the second time in January 2007, but did disclose about filing of previous application for the issuance of passport although he was bound to disclose it as per the rules.

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In the second application, too, he did not disclose the criminal cases pending against him and misled the passport authorities, the petition said.

The petitioner requested the court to direct Nagpur commissioner of police, the passport offices in Worli (Mumbai) and Nagpur to register an FIR against Mr. Waddettiwar for the offences under section Sec 120 (B), 406, 41, 420, 426, 465, 468 r/w Sec 34 of the Indian Penal Code, with the police station and confiscate his passport.

The notices issued by the Division Bench of Justices A.S. Chandurkar and Amit Borkar are returnable in four weeks.

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