Jaipur: A single judge bench of Rajasthan High Court on Monday absolved former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje of the charge of involvement in approving the Jal Mahal tourism and infrastructure project in year 2005 resulting in a land deal controversy.

Absolving Raje of charges, Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma said "the note sheet clearly revealed that the then Chief Minister did not approve the lease agreement but instead proposed formation of a committee for maintenance and upkeep of Jal Mahal.

The court held Raje did not approve of any misdemeanor that took place in the name of alleged land deal.

The court, however, declined to convert non-bailable warrants of Navratan Kothari, IAS officer Vinod Jutshi and Rajasthan Administrative Service officer Hridyesh Kumar in the case.

The High Court brushed aside the contention of senior advocate S R Bajwa, appearing for Navratan Kothari and two other government officials, that Vasundhara Raje, while she was the Chief Minister, had approved the project by way of an official noting written on October 27, 2005, and if the three named accused are required to be prosecuted then all the other
persons directly or indirectly must also be punished for it.

The order came on a criminal miscellaneous petition filed by the proprietor of KGK Enterprise Navratan Kothari, IAS officer Vinod Jutishi and RAS officer Hrideysh Kumar.

According to the case, around 100 bighas of land were allotted by way of a bid to a firm owned by Navratan Kothari in an allegedly illegal manner in 2005.

(Agencies)