Adarsh society scam: Sanction to prosecute me was biased, Ashok Chavan tells Bombay HC
Chavan’s counsel said while in 2013 the then governor had refused sanction to prosecute him, the CBI later sought a review of the order claiming change in circumstance and additional material collectedmumbai Updated: Sep 19, 2017 00:21 IST
Former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan on Monday claimed before the Bombay high court that the February 2016 decision of the governor to grant sanction to prosecute him in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam was ‘politically motivated and biased’ and there was no additional material warranting review of the December 2013 order of the previous governor refusing sanction to prosecute him.
The Congress leader’s counsel, senior advocate Amit Desai, said while in December 2013 the then governor had refused sanction to prosecute Chavan, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) later sought a review of the order claiming change in circumstance and additional material collected by it.
“The February 2016 order passed by governor C Vidyasagar Rao is motivated by change in political circumstances and not by any change in material aspects of the case,” said the senior advocate. “There was no additional material placed before the governor necessitating the review of the 2013 order, but the entire episode of review was politically motivated and initiated by BJP leader Kirit Somaiya,” Desai said.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Chavan challenging the decision of the governor to review the December 2013 decision.
In February last year, Rao had granted sanction to CBI to prosecute Chavan for offences under IPC sections 120 (b)(criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating and under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Desai argued that in December 2013, when the then governor K Sankaranarayanan refused sanction to prosecute Chavan, the CBI accepted it and in January 2014 filed an application before the special CBI court seeking order to delete Chavan's name from the list of charge-sheeted people.
“The 2013 decision was passed after the then governor went through the material submitted by the CBI against Chavan and applied his mind. If the CBI felt the decision was wrong then it could have challenged it in court,” he said.
He said after there was a change of guard at the Centre and the BJP also came to power in Maharashtra, the CBI yielded to political pressure exerted on it and sought review of 2013 order of the governor refusing sanction after Somaiya filed pleas to the state government to that effect and the CBI did not act on its own when it sought review of the December 2013 order.
Chavan's petition termed the governor's order as "arbitrary, illegal and unjust" and passed without "proper application of mind" and with "malafide intentions". The CBI accused Chavan of approving additional floor space index for Adarsh society in return for two flats for his close relatives. He is also charged with illegally approving, as the then revenue minister, allotment of 40% of the flats to civilians.