Years after filing the first charge sheet in the Adarsh Housing Society scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has now received permission to conduct further investigations in the case. The agency will now aim to prove that benami transactions took place for the purchase of flats in the society.
The CBI had moved the special CBI court for permission to investigate alleged benami transactions by some of the accused and for certain irregularities pointed out by the Justice (Retired) JA Patil Commission.
The agency had filed a first information report (FIR) on January 29, 2011, in which it named 14 accused, including former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan. A key person accused in the case, former member of legislative council Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, died in December 2012. The other accused include top politicians, retired army officials and Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers. The agency filed its first charge sheet in July 2012.
Despite this, however, the case hadn’t progressed owing to several pending litigations in higher courts. Thane resident Pravin Wategaonkar had earlier this year moved the Bombay high court, seeking further investigations into the scam. Wategaokar had pointed out several irregularities in the investigation and also alleged that benami transactions were not probed.
A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Amjad Sayed, which was hearing the plea, had expressed dissatisfaction about the CBI’s probe. The judges said the investigating officer had not probed aspects of the case highlighted by Wategaonkar and directed the CBI to undertake further investigations. The court told the investigating officer to submit a report on the investigation in two months.
Followed this, the agency approached the special CBI court, seeking permission to conduct further investigations. On November 16, the court permitted the agency to do so.