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Adarsh Housing Society scam: Court dismisses plea to drop Ashok Chavan's name owing to judicial discipline

Monday, 20 January 2014 - 11:26pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI

A special CBI court, which has dismissed CBI's application seeking to drop former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan's name from the list of accused in the Adarsh Housing Society scam case, has said it cannot pass any order as the matter was also pending before the Bombay High Court.

"Chavan has challenged the competency of CBI to investigate the (Adarsh) matter and it is pending before the HC. As a judicial discipline, the court cannot pass any order in respect of deletion of Chavan's name", said special CBI judge S G Dige in a three-page order given to CBI today.

After Governor K Sankaranarayanan had last month refused to sanction Chavan's prosecution on CBI's application, the premier investigative agency moved the court on January 15 for allowing it to drop the name of Chavan who has been chargesheeted, along with 12 others, in the case.

Judge Dige also said there was no provision under section 169 (release of accused when evidence is deficient) of CrPc for deletion of name of accused for want of sanction for Prevention of Corruption Act as it is a separate offence.

CBI had charge-sheeted Chavan and others in the case in July 2012 but the court is yet to take cognisance as a PIL, seeking a probe into benami flats in Adarsh Housing Society and use of laundered money, is pending before the high court.

A judicial commission of inquiry, set up by the state government, had indicted Chavan, former CMs Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushilkumar Shinde over "blatant violations" of statutory provisions in granting various clearances to the scam-tainted housing society.

The judicial panel's report had said "there was certainly a nexus between the acts of Chavan and benefits derived by his close relatives. The membership process clearly indicates that grant of requisite permission by Chavan was by way of quid pro quo."

Chavan (55), who had to step down as chief minister after the scam surfaced, had challenged his inclusion in the charge sheet on the ground that no sanction for prosecution had been obtained from the Governor. CBI had maintained since Chavan was a former chief minister at the time of being chargesheeted, the Governor's approval was not required.

The court had, however, directed the agency to get sanction for Chavan's prosecution, which was refused by the Governor.

CBI had alleged in its charge sheet that Chavan had increased the floor space index (FSI) of the controversial Adarsh society in return for flats for his relatives. Chavan, as Revenue Minister, had also asked the housing society to include 40 per cent members from civilian category despite it being originally meant only for war veterans, CBI had alleged, claiming Chavan played a key role in the scam.

Chavan's mother-in-law Bhagvati Sharma, sister-in-law Seema Sharma and father-in-law's brother Madanlal Sharma have flats in the society. All of them have been held ineligible by the judicial panel to own flats in the society.

All 13 accused have been charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal misconduct under the Indian Penal Code besides Prevention of Corruption Act.

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