The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday seized Rs23 lakh in cash from the Thane residence of former deputy secretary of the urban development department, PV Deshmukh.
Deshmukh is a co-promoter of Adarsh, which the Union environment ministry recently declared illegal for flouting environmental norms.
The CBI opened Deshmukh’s flat, located on the fourth floor of Gaurangi Apartments on LBS Marg in Thane after the retired bureaucrat sent them the key. The search continued late into the night.
The agency had sealed Deshmukh’s flat on Monday after a search team found it locked. It also pasted a notice on the door to Deshmukh’s house asking him to appear before the investigating agency for a house search.
The cash, found in bundles of Rs1 lakh, was kept in a bag in a cupboard. The currency was in denominations of 500 and 1,000.
The CBI will now involve the income tax (I-T) department to probe if there is a tax evasion angle to the case. “Keeping such a big amount at home could mean that it is unaccounted-for cash and the income tax department needs to be informed,” a CBI officer said, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
CBI sources said they also found some incriminating documents related to Adarsh society. Deshmukh, who owns a flat in Adarsh, is one of the 14 people named in the CBI’s first information report filed in the case on Saturday.
The CBI will start sending notices to 13 accused next week, summoning them for examination. CBI officers said that they would send the notices after they study the documents and around 400 files seized during the recent searches.
The investigating agency will take up the case of former civic chief Jairaj Phatak for investigation only after obtaining permission under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.
The Act has special provisions for bureaucrats like Phatak who are above the rank of joint secretary. Phatak is the chairman of the Rural Electrification Board, a central government undertaking. Sources said the 13 accused will be given three to four days to appear before the CBI.
There was no information about where the CBI would call former chief minister Ashok Chavan for questioning.
Meant to be a society of war widows and veterans, Adarsh is under the scanner for allegedly violating environmental norms and giving bureaucrats and politicians flats in return for clearances.
CBI sources said that Adarsh society’s chief promoter, RC Thakur, and president, retired major general MM Wanchoo, are yet to be found. The two were not at home when the CBI searched their homes on Sunday and haven’t returned since. Their families were present when their homes were searched.