Days after Bombay High Court asked the CBI why it had made no arrests in the multi-crore Adarsh housing society scam and only two days before the CBI has to submit a status report in the matter, the agency on Tuesday carried out the first arrests in the controversial case which claimed a chief minister in November 2010.
The CBI arrested three key accused in the case from Mumbai: retired brigadier MM Wanchu, president of the Adarsh co-operative housing society, RC Thakur, former defence estates officer who is secretary of the society, and PV Deshmukh, former deputy secretary in the state government’s urban development department.
The action came a year and two months after the CBI’s anti-corruption branch in the city registered a criminal case against 13 people on January 29, 2011.
Among the accused are Ashok Chavan, who had to resign as CM in the wake of the scam. The CBI has also recorded the statements of former CMs Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushilkumar Shinde as witnesses in the case.
The agency will take a call on the arrest of another accused, Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, once he is out on bail. Gidwani was arrested 10 days ago for allegedly attempting to bribe a CBI counsel to weaken the case. A special CBI court ordered his release on bail on Tuesday.
While Wanchu and Thakur have been accused of conspiring with members of the defence services and state government officials to get land illegally allotted in favour of Adarsh society, Deshmukh has been accused of communicating to the BMC that the Union environment ministry had granted a NoC to the society though no such NoC had been issued.
Gidwani, the FIR states, used his influence with public servants and offered them membership of the society in return for favours shown.The high court had on March 12 come down heavily on the CBI for delaying arrests in the case in which most of the accused are high-ranking officials.