MUMBAI: A mining firm moved the Bombay HC on Thursday against the police for its inaction to probe an FIR it had filed against the Thane Municipal Corporation’s standing committee chairperson Ravinra Phatak.

The FIR filed this January by Mumbai-based Goldstar Group alleged that Phatak and another person sought to usurp the mining rights of Goldstar Group’s iron ore mine in Sindhudurg where contracts worth millions of dollars are at stake.

The FIR was lodged at the Vanrai police station in Goregaon (E) in Mumbai in January. Officials of Goldstar Group, which registered the case of cheating, extortion and criminal breach of trust among other offences, said the police are yet to take any action against Phatak, who is a Congress corporator.

The FIR has named Dattaram Kavtankar, a contractor from Sawantwadi, as the person to whom Phatak allegedly gave excavation rights on the Goldstar mines, based on an allegedly bogus memora dum of understandin (MoU).

Investigating officer, Danaji Nalawade, when contacted by TOI said, “We are carrying out investigations. It appears that a fraud has been committed. We are in the process of seeking legal opinion to take further steps including whether to make arrests.”

Phatak, however, has denied all allegations. He said, “The allegations of me attempting or conspiring to usurp any company are totally baseless and made up. I was not even aware of a police complaint against me till now. It appears to be a ploy. In fact, there is an ongoing civil case in the Bombay high court between us where the lower court order was in our favour.”

Fed up with the delay in the probe and the lack of visible police action so far, the Goldstar group moved the HC and demanded that the probe be handed over to the CBI or CID (EOW) as an “expert and impartial probe” was required given that the accused is an “influential and powerful politician” in the ruling government, the petition said. “The police are duty-bound to investigate the matter once an FIR is registered, which has not been done,” the petition added.

The FIR had alleged that Phatak, who is also the director of a company called Tapas Mining Private Ltd, had allegedly “attempted to snatch mining rights” from Goldstar Group, by allegedly using coercive tactics. The FIR said that Phatak, had allegedly, without disclosing his own business activities in the mining field, forced the management of Goldstar to enter into an MoU with him for three mines in Sateli village in Sindhudurg to act as a facilitator to ensure that there were no labour problems.

The mining industry is labour intensive and issues related to labour are common which politicians take advantage of, said Goldtsar.

The company, which had secured a lucrative contract from Singapore with an advance of $1.25 million for export of iron ore, also allegedly succumbed to the pressure to appoint Phatak as a director on a 25% profit sharing basis. He was removed as director in January 2013, but allegedly under the garb of power as a director, Phatak signed a “fraudulent” MoU with a village, Dataram Kavtankar, to hand over Goldstar’s mining operations to Kavtankar.

The MoU was dated October 2012. But the FIR claimed it was back dated as Kavtankar, had, in the past, wanted to do business as a contractor with the Goldstar Group but his request had been denied.

The FIR filed this January by Mumbai-based Goldstar Group alleged that Phatak and another person sought to usurp the mining rights of Goldstar Group’s iron ore mine in Sindhudurg where contracts worth millions of dollars are at stake.

The FIR was lodged at the Vanrai police station in Goregaon (E) in Mumbai in January. Officials of Goldstar Group, which registered the case of cheating, extortion and criminal breach of trust among other offences, said the police are yet to take any action against Phatak, who is a Congress corporator.

The FIR has named Dattaram Kavtankar, a contractor from Sawantwadi, as the person to whom Phatak allegedly gave excavation rights on the Goldstar mines, based on an allegedly bogus memora dum of understandin (MoU).

Investigating officer, Danaji Nalawade, when contacted by TOI said, “We are carrying out investigations. It appears that a fraud has been committed. We are in the process of seeking legal opinion to take further steps including whether to make arrests.”

Phatak, however, has denied all allegations. He said, “The allegations of me attempting or conspiring to usurp any company are totally baseless and made up. I was not even aware of a police complaint against me till now. It appears to be a ploy. In fact, there is an ongoing civil case in the Bombay high court between us where the lower court order was in our favour.”

Courtesy: THE TIMES OF INDIA

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