The Adarsh scam, which unfolded in 2010 and came to symbolise corruption by those in power, was seen as the beginning of the collapse of the Congress-led government in the state. The Bombay high court’s order on demolition of the 31-storey building is yet another setback to the party and its state president, Ashok Chavan, who had to step down as the chief minister in the wake of the scam.
In February, the Devendra Fadnavis-led government ensured the governor granted sanction to the CBI to prosecute Chavan in the Adarsh case on the basis of a two-member commission report that held him guilty of quid pro quo. While the final decision is pending in the apex court, this judgment gives a direction to the investigating authorities.
“The judgment will make it difficult to avoid criminal proceedings. It could lead to Chavan being charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act, which has stringent punishment of up to seven years,’’ said IPS officer-turned-lawyer and activist YP Singh.
For the Congress, which is hoping for a revival under Chavan, this comes as a dampener. A conviction under this act could put an end to Chavan’s political career.
The fine print of the order, which is not out, may spell trouble for other officials and politicians, who misused their power to allow the tower to come up.
Nearly 21 of the flats were declared benami and 25 members were found ineligible by the commission.
The transactions for eight flats financed by BJP MP Ajay Sancheti’s brother Abhay were found to be benami.
Among those whose membership was found ineligible include Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu, former speaker the late Babasaheb Kupekar. Others indicted by the commission include former chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde, and ex-ministers Shivajirao Nilangekar, Sunil Tatkare and Rajesh Tope.