Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, former Congress legislator and one of the chief promoters of the Adarsh society, passed away on Tuesday.
Gidwani had suffered a cardiac arrest. He was admitted to Breach Candy hospital two days ago after he complained of breathing problems.
The 64-year-old, who was known as a ‘man for all seasons’, had found himself isolated after the Adarsh controversy grabbed headlines. He and his two sons owned three flats in the society.
A small businessman from Sangli, Gidwani started off as the private secretary to Shalinitai Patil, wife of former chief minister Vasantdada Patil. In 1996, he joined the Shiv Sena, and left to join the Congress after 10 years. Known to be close to two former CMs, Gidwani was appointed as the Congress spokesperson and elected to the legislative council.
“It's unfortunate, but no one in political circles would want to comment on him given the infamy he brought to Congress. He was a smooth talker, knew how to broker political deals and had contacts across parties,” said a senior Congress leader.
The defence ministry had alleged that they owned the land on which Adarsh was constructed. The other allegation was that the land was allotted under the guise of constructing a society for war heroes and widows.
In his deposition,Gidwani had admitted that his ‘relations’ with ministers and bureaucrats had helped in the allotment. In exchange, he was allowed to sponsor 30% of the society members.
Gidwani also admitted that he included 48 civilians as members. These included Seema Sharma, sister-in-law of former CM Ashok Chavan, Kanishk Phatak, son of bureaucrat Jairaj Phatak, Onkar Tiwari, son of former UDD secretary, Babasaheb Kupekar, former speaker etc.
Criminal cases against him will be dropped
MUMBAI: The pending criminal cases against Kanhaiyalal Gidwani will be dropped.
Gidwani, one of the prime accused in the Adarsh scam, was facing at least two criminal cases.
According to the CBI, Gidwani played an important role in getting the plot of land and the FSI of the adjoining plot reserved for a BEST depot allotted for the high-rise building.
The Congress leader allegedly played role of a conduit between the defence personnel involved in formation of the housing society and officers from the state administration, and purportedly helped the defence personnel in securing various sanctions and clearances for the scam-hit high-rise building.
Although, Gidwani and his family officially owned three flats in the 31-storey building at Colaba, the CBI investigation later revealed that the Congress leader had also made payments for four more flats through his bank account and allegedly held the flats as benami properties.
However, the authorities can confiscate the four flats. Under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988, the central government is empowered to confiscate the estate or property held by any person as benami, said criminal lawyer RB Mokashi.
Another criminal lawyer SK Patil said there was no impediment in taking the proceedings forward against the flats purportedly held by Gidwani even though the trial against him will now stand abated in view of his sudden death.