Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday said he was surprised that charges had been framed against former chief minister Ashok Chavan, but made it clear that he was not opposed to the CBI probe.
Significantly, the state on Wednesday filed an affidavit before the Bombay high court questioning the propriety of the CBI investigation.
Chavan said the position taken in its affidavit is in line with what was said in its first affidavit. "We said we did not ask for a CBI inquiry, as the land on which Adarsh stands belongs to the government. Our stance has not changed," the CM said, adding that it did not mean opposition to the probe.
Sources close to him said with the high court monitoring the situation, the state felt it was best that law take its own course. "Otherwise we would have been accused of a cover-up," the source said.
There were murmurs of protest within the Congress. "The state should have questioned the jurisdiction of the CBI inquiry after the judicial commission submitted its report in our favour. But there was no political will then, and even now. Look at the NCP, it shields its ministers," said a senior Congress leader.
NCP has protected two of its ministers, Gulabrao Deokar and Sunil Tatkare, despite a criminal case being lodged against the former and allegations of disproportionate assets against the latter.
In bureaucratic circles, there was a sense of vindication. The three former chief ministers in their deposition before the judicial commission had blamed bureaucrats for the irregularities in granting clearances to the tower.
"At least one politician will be held responsible. All three ex-CMs are neck deep in the scam, but all blame has been shifted on to officials," said a senior bureaucrat, requesting anonymity.
When asked about former CMs blaming bureaucrats, the CM said: "Everyone has a right to defend themselves."