In what is a first in the history of the state government, five bureaucrats and one state official - serving and retired - have been charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1998, by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in its first information report (FIR) in the Adarsh Housing Society scam.It may be time of reckoning for these serving and retired officials, who are now likely to be stripped of important posts and sidelined until the investigation agency files its charge sheet and makes arrests.
Former state human rights commission member, Subhash Lalla, suspended RTI commissioner Ramanand Tiwari, former Mumbai collector Pradeep Vyas, and deputy secretary of the urban development department PV Deshmukh are likely to be booked.
The CBI on Saturday filed an FIR in the controversial Adarsh scam that saw the ouster of former chief minister Ashok Chavan, naming 13 accused, including armymen, defence estate officials, state officials and public servants.
Six of these officials are from the state government.
Most of the officials under scanner were involved in clearing the files of the 31-storey Colaba building and got flats allotted in this tower in their names or that of their kins'.
Sources said the investigation by the agency has shown that officials were guilty of quid pro quo [an equal exchange
or substitution of goods or services].
However, being named in the FIR will not be sufficient evidence of guilt to suspend the serving IAS officials.
The service rules state that an officer can be suspended if he is arrested in any criminal case and spends 24 hours in custody.
“As per protocol, officials who are named in a criminal case will be sidelined or given non-executive posts until a charge sheet is filed or he is arrested. In this case, we have not got any communication from the CBI yet,” said an official from the general administration department of the government.
He, however, added that since this was an unprecedented case, government would put up the issue at the highest level to take a decision on what next for these officials after the CBI had officially communicated with them.
Most of the officials were unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts made by the Hindustan Times.