Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has admitted before a court in Nagpur that there had been an “inadvertent” mistake while collating information about pending criminal cases against him due to which two criminal matters were not mentioned in his election affidavit submitted in 2014.
Fadnavis (52), in an explanatory statement submitted to Civil Judge V M Deshmukh on April 15, said there was no intention to deliberately conceal information about the two “insignificant” complaint cases and their non-inclusion in the poll affidavit of Form 26 was “sheer inadvertence and without any intention”.
The senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and MLA from Nagpur said he had asked his advocate Uday Dable to collect details about pending criminal cases ahead of Assembly elections and there seems to have been an error on the advocate’s part in collation of the required information.
Dable also submitted a statement to the court, stating he had made an inadvertent mistake and Fadnavis had trusted him and signed the election affidavit.
The court was hearing a complaint, seeking criminal proceedings against Fadnavis for not disclosing two criminal cases in his poll affidavit.
Fadnavis, in his statement, said when elections for the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly were declared in 2014, he was the state BJP president and was shouldering the responsibility of overseeing electioneering in all constituencies (numbering 288) of the state.
“I say that Uday Dable is my local lawyer and I had asked him to collect information about pending criminal cases against me to be mentioned in my nomination form. It appears that the collation of information inadvertently left out two complaint cases and therefore only 22 criminal cases were mentioned in the affidavit,” the statement said.
“I say that there was no intention to deliberately conceal information about the two insignificant complaint cases and their non-inclusion in the affidavit of Form 26 was sheer inadvertence and without any intention,” it added.
The deputy chief minister, elected from the Nagpur South West Assembly constituency, further claimed he has mentioned cases of more severe nature in his election affidavit.
The BJP leader maintained he has been a sitting member of the Assembly since 1999 and has won with a huge margin each time.
“I, therefore, most respectfully say that, I had no reason to conceal any information in my nomination paper or in the documents accompanying it,” Fadnavis said in the statement.
Advocate Dable reiterated he had made an inadvertent mistake while collating information about the number of criminal cases pending against Fadnavis.
In his statement, the advocate claimed while filling the form he had mentioned 22 pending criminal cases against Fadnavis, but missed out on two pending matters.
Dable said since he handles all criminal cases of Fadnavis, the deputy chief minister had trusted him and signed the election affidavit.
“There was no intention to hide the cases either by me or Fadnavis,” Dable said in the statement.
The statements were taken on record by the court and the matter has been kept for hearing on June 7.
The court was hearing the complaint by Satish Uke, an advocate, seeking criminal proceedings against Fadnavis alleging cases of cheating and forgery had been registered against the BJP leader in 1996 and 1998, but he did not disclose this information in his poll affidavit during the 2014 Assembly elections.
Fadnavis had appeared before the court on April 15 to record his statement.
Uke is currently in jail after he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on charges of money laundering.