SC relief for deputy election commissioner in land case

New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday stayed a non-bailable warrant against Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi issued by a magistrate’s court in an alleged illegal leasing of government land in Jaipur to a private company.

The apex court bench of Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice Madan B. Lokur stayed the arrest warrant against Zutshi and Hridesh Kumar Sharma, director, Department of Archaeology and Museums.

The court issued the stay order after it was told that the decision to give the said land on a 99-year lease was taken by an empowered committee of secretaries headed by the chief secretary of Rajasthan government.

The arrest warrants were issued in 2011. The Rajasthan High Court had Nov 16, 2012 dismissed anticipatory bail applications of Zutshi and Kumar in the case.

Appearing for Zutshi, senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the court that police had filed the closure report three times. The court was told that legal action against Zutshi commenced after trial court entertained the protest petition against the closure report filed by police.

The court was told that the empowered committee of secretaries that was headed by the chief secretary had 15 members and Zutshi was not there in Rajasthan tourism department when the advertisement was placed in newspapers for setting up the resorts in June 2003.

The court was told that Zutshi was made secretary, Department of Tourism, in January 2004 and made chairman of Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) Feb 28, 2004.

The court was told that Sharma had no connection with RTDC when the decision on granting of the lease was taken.

Staying the arrest warrant, the court wondered why a criminal case was filed in a case where the government has the authority to lease out land.

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