Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's son Abhijat Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that a PIL accusing him of destroying forest area for his eco-tourism project was "politically motivated".
The public interest litigation, filed by local residents Abhijit Satyavan Desai and Prakash Bhagat, alleges rampant destruction of forest, especially in the notified eco-sensitive zone adjoining the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary in Netravali village in Sanguem taluka, by the Hideaway Hospitality, a company owned by Abhijat.
The matter came up for hearing Tuesday before the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court. A division bench comprising Justices R D Dhanuka and Prithviraj Chavan heard the case.
"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 petition smacks of malice," Abhijat said in his submission to court.
The younger son of the chief minister said the details of the PIL were "publicly announced" at a press conference in Panaji which was attended by top Congress leaders.
He told the court that he had all valid permissions for the project and claimed that petitioner Abhijit Desai was part of the committee which gave the approvals.
He told the court that the petitioner had criminal cases against him and it appeared that he wanted these withdrawn in return for not pursuing the present petition.
The next hearing has been fixed for April 22.