Six days after the Bombay High Court stayed prosecution of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh housing society scam case, an intervening application was filed in the court today pleading for the stay to be vacated.
In an interim order last Thursday, the HC had stayed Chavan's prosecution on a revision application (appeal) filed by CBI challenging the trial court's order rejecting the agency's plea to drop the name of the former Chief Minister from the list of the accused.
The application of social activist and former journalist Ketan Tirodkar has been posted for hearing on August 25 before Justice Sadhana Jadhav who had granted stay. Tirodkar had earlier filed a petition in the high court seeking a direction to CBI to register offences in the Adarsh scam and transfer the investigation of missing files case, an off shoot of the scam, from Marine Drive police to CBI as it was a connected offence.
The court had then directed CBI to amend its FIR by invoking the Benami Properties Transaction Act. In the application pleading for vacating the stay on Chavan's prosecution, Tirodkar contended that CBI's revision application should be dismissed as the agency cannot challenge an interlocutory order of the trial court which had rejected its application to drop Chavan's name as an accused. He further argued that no court can grant a stay for any reason whatsoever upon the proceedings under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Tirodkar alleged CBI had "deliberately" sent the proposal for sanction u/s 197 of CrPc to the Governor so as to give room for him to "favour" the accused (Chavan) arraigned by honest officers in the investigating agency. He futher alleged Chavan had met the Governor when CBI's proposal for sanction was pending before the latter which was not proper. Tirodkar prayed his intervention application be allowed and he be impleaded as a respondent.
Justice Sadhana Jadhav had, while staying the prosecution of Chavan on August 7, clarified that the trial of other accused in the case can proceed. The special CBI court had in January this year turned down CBI's plea to drop Chavan's name from the FIR after Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan refused sanction to prosecute him for want of evidence.
Chavan had stepped down as the Chief Minister after the Adarsh scam came to light in 2010. The CBI had accused Chavan of approving additional floor space index for Adarsh housing society in return for flats for his relatives. He was also charged with illegally approving, as Revenue Minister, allotment of 40 per cent of the flats to civilians when the Society was meant only for Kargil war widows and defence personnel.