Adarsh housing society member and senior Congress leader Kanhaiyalal Gidwani remained unperturbed despite searches by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on his home and office on Sunday.
“The searches were a part of procedure that the CBI needed to follow,” Gidwani told the Hindustan Times. “The CBI had a search warrant and they searched for documents related to Adarsh housing society. I fully cooperated with the officials and I will continue to do so in future.”
Gidwani has denied that he was a promoter of the controversial project.
The searches were carried out a day after the CBI filed a first information report (FIR) against 13 people, including Gidwani and ex-chief minister Ashok Chavan.
The residences of the society’s general secretary RC Thakur, president, retired major general MM Wanchoo, former principal secretary of urban development department Ramanand Tiwari and Tiwari’s junior, PV Deshmukh, were also searched.
Wanchoo and Thakur were not at home during the searches. A senior CBI officer said whenever the agency feels the need to question them, it would issue summons. “If they don’t respond to summons, we will take appropriate legal action,” the officer said.
The CBI does not have immediate plans to arrest any of those named in the FIR.
Meant for war widows and defence personnel, Adarsh society came under the scanner following allegations that it had violated environment norms and had given politicians and bureaucrats flats in the building in return for clearances.
The environment ministry had declared the society illegal earlier this month.
Gidwani said the permission granted to the society was legal and hoped that the court would uphold the society’s stand.
The National Alliance for People’s Movement (NAPM), which had filed a writ petition in the high court seeking an FIR against the guilty, welcomed the developments.
“The FIR proves that the guilty are not very far from punishment and it strengthens the hope that the other guilty that have been left out will also be booked,” said a statement from the NAPM issued on Sunday.
The court will hear the petition on February 1.
The chief promoter of Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society, RC Thakur, and its president, retired Major General MM Wanchoo, were not at home when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) teams came calling early in the morning on Sunday.
The CBI had around 6.30 am raided Thakur’s Thane residence situated in Raunak Park building and Wanchoo’s Salunkhe Vihar residence in Pune.
“However, the two were not found there,” a senior CBI officer said requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The two did not turn up till late in the night.
The CBI, however, seized some important files, other documents pertaining to Adarsh, laptops and computer hard discs from their houses.
“Our present action was restricted to seizing documents related to Adarsh and which were earlier not given by these people,” the officer said adding that whenever the agency feels the need to question them, it would issue summons to these accused.
“If they don’t respond to summons, we would take appropriate legal action,” the officer said.
He added that after studying the new set of files and documents seized, the accused who are office-bearers of the society would be summoned for questioning to seek further clarification and information.
However, the CBI doesn’t have immediate plans to arrest any of those who have been named in the FIR.