Contempt petition will be lodged against the administration if the crime is not registered immediately despite the court’s order : A warning by Hindus

Case of donation box scam of Rs 8.45 crore in Shri Tuljabhavani Devi temple

(From left) – Adv. Shirish Kulkarni, Mr Sunil Ghanwat, H.H. Suresh Kulkarni, Mr Kishore Gangane, Mr Rajan Bunage

Dharashiv, Maharashtra : Shri Tuljabhavani Devi temple was scammed in the donation box worth Rs 8,45,97,000. Government officials are involved in this corruption. Therefore, the Sambhajinagar Bench of the Bombay High Court has nullified the Government’s decision to close the investigation into the scam, claiming that the administration is trying to protect them. Also, the previous inquiry committee has ordered to register of criminal cases against 16 convicts, including auctioneers, temple employees, trustees, Government officials and employees etc., at Tuljapur Police Station. Therefore, this order of the court should be acted upon immediately. In a press conference, Mr Sunil Ghanwat (Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh organiser, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti) warned that if the accused are not registered immediately, they will file a contempt petition. On this occasion, H.H. (Adv.) Suresh Kulkarni (Founder-Member of Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad), Mr Kishor Gangane, Advocate Shirish Kulkarni and Mr Rajan Bunage (Dharashiv District Coordinator of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti) were present.

Mr Sunil Ghanwat further said, “The efforts of Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, which have been fighting in Court for the last nine years, have had great success due to the grace of Mata Tuljabhavani. This is a decision that brings joy and relief to crores of devotees across the country. The court has also ordered that the investigation of the case be continued under the supervision of senior officers of the rank of Superintendent of Police of the Crime Investigation Department. We will pursue this matter till the corrupt people who looted the Government funds are punished.”

H.H. (Adv.) Suresh Kulkarni of the Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad, who appeared before the Sambhajinagar Bench of the High Court on behalf of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti said, we have made important demands to the Government – Administrative agencies should immediately register cases against the corrupt culprits without backing them. Appoint an officer of the rank of a full-time Collector as the Chief Administrator of Shri Tuljabhavani Devi Temple; the temple committee still does not have its constitution or rules, which should be prepared immediately. The number of CCTV cameras should be increased in the temple area and its footage should be permanently preserved; annual security inspection of temple premises should be carried out, the money in the form of donations and gold and silver collected in the temple should be audited by auditors every year. H.H. (Adv.) Suresh Kulkarni warned if the administration delays or no action is taken, we will lodge a High Court contempt petition.

HJS’s efforts to combat 8.5 Cr donation box (hundi) scam at the Sri Tuljabhavani Mandir successful !

High Court order to register and investigate 16 convicts!

9th May 2024

Aurangabad bench of Bombay High Court has ordered the registration and investigation of 16 convicts involved in the 8 crore 45 lakh 97 thousand rupees donation box scam at the Sri Tuljabhavani temple. The court has overturned the government’s decision to close the investigation, suspecting the involvement of government officials in the corruption and alleging an attempt to shield them. The directive includes filing criminal cases against various individuals, including auctioneers, temple staff, trustees, and government officials, among others. The investigation will be supervised by a senior officer from the Criminal Investigation Department, ensuring diligent scrutiny. The successful legal battle fought by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti and Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad over the past nine years has culminated in this significant victory. The decision brings relief and joy to millions of devotees across Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Goa. The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti vows to persist until the corrupt officials responsible for misappropriating government funds face justice.

Between 1991 and 2009, corruption involving crores of rupees in donation box auctions sparked legislative discussions. In 2011, then Chief Minister Ashok Chavan instructed the State Criminal Investigation Department to probe the scam. However, due to the involvement of administrative officers and public representatives, the investigation stagnated for 5 years. In 2015, the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, with the assistance of the Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad, filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Aurangabad Bench of the High Court. Despite submitting the inquiry report to the Home Department in 2017 as per the court’s order, no action was taken after five years. Consequently, the committee filed another petition in 2022 to prompt action.

The High Court questioned the government’s inaction over 5 years, prompting revelations that the investigation was closed citing the case’s age. Referring to the Supreme Court’s ruling in ‘Lalithakumari versus Government of Uttar Pradesh, 2014 (2) SCC No.1’, which mandates registering criminal cases upon the commission of a cognizable offense, the court emphasized the necessity for public accountability, vigilance, and corruption prevention. Considering the Shankar Kengar Committee’s findings, the court ordered the investigation to resume, asserting the appropriateness of filing criminal cases given the embezzlement of Rs 8.45 crore. Senior Advocate Sanjeev Deshpande, along with Founder Member of Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad Advocate (Pujya) Suresh Kulkarni and Advocate Umesh Bhadgavankar, represented the committee before a bench comprising Justice Mangesh Patil and Justice Shailesh Brahme.

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