Non-disclosure of cases: Ex-CM Fadnavis seeks exemption from

Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday sought an exemption from appearance before a Nagpur court in connection with a case where he is accused of concealing information about two criminal matters against him in election affidavit.

Nagpur Police delivered summons, issued by a magistrate's court here, to Fadnavis in connection with the case on November 28, the day when a new Shiv Sena-led government was formed in the state.

Fadnavis' counsel Uday Dable on Wednesday prayed the magistrate's court to allow exemption to the BJP leader from appearance in the case.

He said Fadnavis could not be present in the court due to some "unavoidable work".

The counsel said Fadnavis' intention was not to delay the trial and proceedings.

"He is not available today due to some unavoidable work. His identity is not disputed and he is properly represented by his counsel, and his absence would not hamper the proceedings of the court," Dable said.

However, city-based lawyer Satish Uke, who earlier filed an application in the court seeking that criminal proceedings be initiated against Fadnavis, asked the court to issue a non-bailable warrant against the accused.

The petitioner said Fadnavis did not appear before the court as he had "pre-decided" to seek an exemption for appearance on Wednesday.

Uke cited a report published in a national daily on November 4 in which Fadnavis' counsel stated that the BJP leader need not personally remain present on the date and can seek an extension.

But, he has to personally come to the court and seek bail for himself on whichever date is subsequently fixed, Uke said quoting Fadnavis' counsel.

The petitioner said Fadnavis was supposed to appear personally or through his pleader in the court.

But, his counsel Dable appeared before the court without Fadnavis' 'vakalatnama' (a document by which a party authorises an advocate to represent on his/her behalf) or any document bearing the BJP leader's signature, Uke said.

Fadnavis is an MLA from Nagpur.

On November 1, the magistrate's court restored Uke's application seeking criminal proceedings against the BJP leader for alleged non-disclosure.

The Bombay High Court had upheld the lower court's earlier order dismissing Uke's plea.

But the Supreme Court, on October 1, directed the magistrate's court to go ahead with the application filed by Uke.

The magistrate's court on November 4 said the case would be held as a summary criminal case, and issued notice.

Cases of cheating and forgery were filed against Fadnavis in 1996 and 1998, but charges were not framed in both the matters.

Uke alleged that Fadnavis did not disclose this information in his election affidavits.