CBI gave me clean chit over benami deals in Adarsh case, Ashok Chavan tells Bombay HC
Chavan said the allegations he opened up membership to the housing society, meant for Army personnel only, to include civilians and got some flats for his relatives as ‘quid pro quo’ were falsemumbai Updated: Sep 28, 2017 23:22 IST
“The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has given me clean chit as far as benami transactions in Adarsh housing society scam are concerned,” Congress leader Ashok Chavan claimed on Thursday before the Bombay high court.
“There is no mention of my name in the second and third charge-sheets filed by the CBI,” Amit Desai, who represented the former Maharashtra chief minister, said.
Desai said the allegations that Chavan opened up membership to the scam-hit housing society, meant for Army personnel only, to include civilians and got some flats for his relatives as ‘quid pro quo’ were false. He said everybody conveniently ignored civilian members had already been admitted to the society before Chavan came into the picture.
He said what remained as accusations against Chavan are that as revenue minister he granted Letter-of-Intent of allotment of the prime piece of land for the housing society and as chief minister he waived compulsory requirement of 15% recreational open space.
Desai was arguing Chavan’s petition challenging February 2016 decision of Maharashra governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao to grant sanction to prosecute the Congress leader for his role in the Adarsh housing society scam. Rao reviewed the December 2013 decision of the then governor K Shankarnarayanan, who had rejected the CBI’s plea for sanction to prosecute Chavan, and overturned it.
Chavan contended the February 2016 decision 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.
Desai argued the February 2016 order passed by governor C Vidyasagar Rao was motivated by change in political circumstances and not by any change in material aspects of the case. “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,” the senior advocate has argued.
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.
CBI responded to the petition claiming validity of the Governor’s order granting sanction to prosecute the Congress leader can only be tested in the trial court. “The trial court will have to determine if there was material warranting review of the earlier order, if it was material as envisaged under the relevant provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, if the material was sufficient and relevant,” additional solicitor general Anil Singh has argued on behalf of the central agency.
The division bench of justice Ranjit More and justice Sadhana Jadhav on Thursday reserved its verdict on Chavan’s petition. The bench is likely to pronounce its decision after Diwali vacations.