Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s son Abhijat, accused of committing illegalities in the construction of an eco-tourism project in a petition, on Tuesday told the Panaji bench of Bombay High Court that the petition is political in nature and masterminded by Congress leaders who want to gain political mileage ahead of elections.
Abhijat, in a written submission to the high court, said that the petitioner Abhijit Dessai, a former Deputy Sarpanch of the village panchayat of Netravali, where the eco-tourism project is located, had been seeking an appointment with the Chief Minister as well as making overtures to him, allegedly to seek withdrawal of pending criminal cases.
“I say that the present PIL is a politically-motivated petition and has been filed on the eve of elections to get political mileage in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections. The petitions smacks of malice,” Abhijat said in the reply submitted to the court, while also calling the litigation a ‘pseudo PIL’.
Backing his claim about the petition being political in nature, Abhijat said that details about the PIL was publicly announced at a press conference in Panaji in February where the state’s top Congress leaders were also present.
On February 12, the high court had issued notices to Abhijat in connection with the petition filed against him by Dessai for alleged destruction of forested area for construction of an eco-resort located near the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary.
Abhijat also said that he had valid permissions to construct the eco-tourism resort, while claiming that petitioner Abhijit Dessai, as then Deputy Sarpanch at the Netravali Panchayat, had been a part of the committee which approved the project.
He said that Dessai had criminal complaints filed against him and had also tried to establish contact with Abhijat as well as his father Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
“Suprisingly, the petitioner number one (Dessai) has been sending photos of the summons received by him in respect of criminal cases on my Whatsapp. I say that it appears that the petitioner number one wants to suggest that if those criminal cases are withdrawn, he would not pursue the present petition,” he said.
“I say that the Dessai is also desperately seeking appointment of the honourable Chief Minister. I say that this can be ascertained from the messages sent to one Sanket Arsekar (a Chief Minister’s Office staffer), seeking appointment with the Chief Minister,” Abhijat added.