Court rejects Lavasa's plea to intervene in criminal case

Reserves order on issuing notice or summons till November 11

By Ashwin Aghor
Published: Thursday 10 November 2011

While Lavasa Corporation Limited (LCL) got a major relief from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), which has granted environmental clearance to the first phase of the hill city project, it faced a setback in the sessions court, which is hearing a criminal complaint against the company. The court rejected an application by LCL to intervene in the case on November 9.

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) had filed the criminal case against directors and officials of the company on November 4. This followed MoEF's demand that the Maharashtra government take credible action against several violations before the ministry considers granting environmental clearance.

According to the court procedure, Lavasa cannot submit such an application and has to wait till the court issues notice or summons, directing the accused to appear in the case. Advocate P Narayan, lawyer of LCL, submitted an application to chief judicial magistrate N T Ghadge on Wednesday afternoon, requesting he be permitted to intervene in the matter and remain present as counsel of Lavasa.

The application stated that that he wanted to submit four documents which, according to him, were not produced by MPCB. He said the documents were important to highlight the earlier approvals granted to the project and also the correspondence between the company and MoEF and MPCB. The documents also referred to the new notification of 2006, which according to Narayan, was not applicable to this project as it was started before the notification was issued.

When asked by the court, MPCB informed that three out of four documents referred to by Narayan were already submitted, while the remaining document was submitted by late afternoon. After receiving the document, Narayan’s application was rejected on the grounds that the objective was fulfilled. However, he was given the liberty to be present during the next hearing of the case.

The court has reserved the order to issue notice or summons till November 11.

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