Mumbai, Feb 8: The Maharashtra Government has paid the Supreme Court a fine of Rs 10 lakh imposed for obstruction of police action against the money lender father of a Congress legislator, allegedly at the behest of then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, now Union rural development minister.
"The state government has paid the Rs 10 lakh fine," a senior official said.
The development comes days after Supreme Court Judge A K Ganguly expressed "shock" at Deshmukh's continuation as a union minister despite the court's action.
Ganguly had said at a seminar in Mumbai on Saturday that it was "sad and shocking to see how the government allows and appreciates such ministers. Not only that, it also gives them a Cabinet post. It is not a dignified act and I would call it a shameless act."
Vilasrao Deshmukh faced severe criticism from the Supreme Court bench of Justice Ganguly and Justice G S Singhvi for shielding a Congress MLA's family from complaints on money lending by poor farmers during his tenure as chief minister.
The Supreme Court had in its December 14 judgement termed Deshmukh's behaviour as "anachronistic and incongruous" and had enhanced to Rs 10 lakh the fine of Rs 25,000 imposed by the Bombay high court on the Maharashtra government.
The court had said the action of Deshmukh was condemnable as he acted beyond "all legal norms" for "political consideration" despite Vidharbha region having the dubious distinction of witnessing the largest number of farmers' suicides.
"Chief minister's instructions are so incongruous and anachronistic, being in defiance of all logic and reason, that our conscience is deeply disturbed. We condemn the same in no uncertain terms," the bench had said.
The apex court had passed the judgement while dismissing the state government's appeal challenging a high court order which had held that Deshmukh acted in violation of the law by asking the district collector of Buldhana and Khamgaon police station not to register cases against MLA Dilip Kumar Sananda and his family members.
The incident related to Deshmukh's action as chief minister in May 2006 after cases were registered by farmers of Vidharbha region led by Sarangdharsingh Shivdassingh Chavan that the MLA and the family were torturing poor farmers for recovery and extracting 10 per cent monthly interest for lending loans.
"The message conveyed in this case is extremely shocking and it shocks the conscience of this Court about the manner in which the Constitutional functionaries behaved in the state of Maharashtra," the bench had said.
It was stated that as many as 34 complaints were registered against the MLA and his family till June 28, 2006, but due to Deshmukh's interference no subsequent cases were registered by the police forcing the distressed farmers to move the high court. PTI