Monday, September 24, 2007

Govt spent Rs 1 cr on frivolous BMIC battle

Govt spent Rs 1 cr on frivolous BMIC battle
Naheed Ataulla | TNN

Bangalore: How much has it cost the Karnataka government to legally battle out the 111-km Bangalore-Mysore expressway in the past two years? It is Rs 1,00,29,780 in the Supreme Court alone. That too on apppeals dismissed by the Supreme Court as frivolous. The fight is still on at the cost of public exchequer.
According to data obtained under the RTI Act by The Times of India, this whopping figure for engaging a battery of lawyers is not for any case suo motu filed by the government in the Supreme Court. It is on appeals challenging the verdicts to petitions of others in the high court here.
Rs 50,000 was paid on Nov. 17, 2005 to an advocate; and the latest was Rs 2.80 lakh on September 13. The highest amount is Rs 63,63,500, while the lowest Rs 1,680.
To a query on any original suit filed by successive governments on the project, the reply is: “Karnataka has not filed any case on BMIC in the high court. However, it filed a civil appeal before the apex court against the high court’s order of May 3, 2005.’’
But it has been only raps from the Supreme Court to these appeals. The reply mentions that the SC on April 20, 2006 upheld the HC’s order observing:. “There is no merit in the appeal. Considering the frivolous arguments and the mala fide with which the state of Karnataka and its instrumentalities have conducted this litigation before the high court and us, it shall pay NICE (executors of BMIC project) Rs 5 lakh.’’ A review petition filed on this was dismissed as “not having merit.’’
Besides in the land acquisition matters, the appeals challenging the high court orders were “dismissed as without substance.’’
Present status
Government has filed an affidavit on July 28 stating it has got an offer from a USbased consortium to take over BMIC project on “as is where is basis.’’ Since the project under NICE has not progressed as envisaged, it has sought court’s permission to go ahead with the offer. It has also floated global tenders for fresh bidding of BMIC.


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