Justice MB Shah, who probed the allegations of corruption, including land allocation to Tata Nano project, today said the charges levelled against the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi were “baseless.” “If you go by the entire report, you will find that the government had followed all the laws and procedures, particularly the Land Revenue Code, in allotting land to industries. The Commission found no substance in the charges made against the government in that regard,” Shah told PTI.
The Shah Commission, whose report was tabled in the Gujarat Assembly on March 31, looked into the allegations which mostly pertained to allotment of land for major industrial and infrastructure projects including nine cases related to Tata Nano plant, Adani Group’s Mundra Port and SEZ, and Larsen and Toubro.
In the report, the Commission found no substance in those allegations and termed most of them as “baseless”.
According to Shah, government has not done anything wrong in allotting land to such industries.
“You can’t just tell the industries to fend for themselves after inviting them here to set up their plants. Tata Nano was also invited here by us. And, land was alloted as per the rules. Same procedures were followed by the past governments too,” said Shah.
Congress leaders, including Shaktisinh Gohil and Arjun Modhvaida, had submitted a memorandum to the then President in July 2011, listing 17 allegations of corruption against Modi who was at the helm of affairs in Gujarat. Modi had set up the panel under retired Supreme Court judge M B Shah in August 2011 to inquire into 15 out of 17 allegations, as remaining two were sub-judice.
According to Shah, those who raised these issues, did not turn up before the Commission to record their statements on many occasions. “Instead of appearing in person to explain their side, they used to send their lawyer. No one was ready to register their statements before the Commission on affidavit,” said Shah.
Among these 15 allegations, one was regarding irregularities in “Sujalam Sufalam” canal network project. In his observation in the report, Shah left the matter on government instead of giving a clear verdict. “Only the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) or Public Undertakings Committee (PUC) can look into the observations made by the CAG. Commission can not decide on it. PAC and PUC are the final authorities for that,” Shah said.