The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has named former state chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushilkumar Shinde as witnesses in the Adarsh Housing Society scam charge sheet filed on Wednesday.
Expressing surprise, the opposition has demanded that both should also be named as accused in the charge sheet.
A CBI officer claimed the agency decided to name them as witnesses after it found that their purported role was limited to signing relevant files pertaining to the society.
Deshmukh and Shinde, however, are still on the CBI's radar.
Ravindra Singh, superintendent of police, CBI, earlier filed an affidavit in the Bombay high court stating the agency was also investigating the allegations made by Thane-based social activist Pravin Wategaonkar against the two, along with Nationalist Congress Party minister Sunil Tatkare and some highly placed Maharashtra bureaucrats and retired defence personnel.
Wategaonkar had filed a criminal PIL seeking invocation of provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against 15 persons figuring as accused in the Adarsh Housing Society scam, but not named in the CBI's first information report (FIR).
He has alleged these persons misused their official positions for personal benefit and therefore the purported roles played by them need to be investigated.
He alleged that some persons were holding benami flats in Adarsh on behalf of the two former CMs.
Deshmukh was CM and also headed the urban development department when the proposed widening of Captain Prakash Pethe Marg was dropped and permission was given to the society to utilise FSI of 2,669 square metres (in addition to FSI of 3,824 sq m of the original plot) of the adjoining plot reserved for a BEST bus depot.
Wategaonkar said Shinde, during his tenure as CM, cleared a list of 51 civilians for society membership.
Also, the letter of intent regarding allotment of the land was issued to the society during his tenure, he said.
Leader of opposition in the assembly Eknath Khadse said: "This charge sheet filed against Chavan has come too late in the day. The list doesn't include names of many others who played an important role in clearing files".
Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said the comments made by the government when the charge sheet was being filed were unnecessary.
"There was no need for the government to say it had not asked for a CBI probe. If people are guilty, they should be charged," she said.