The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has given a clean chit to Jayant Patil, rural development minister and guardian minister for Mumbai, in the Adarsh housing society scam.
The CBI told the Bombay High Court on Tuesday that it had not found sufficient evidence against Patil in its investigations in this case.
The agency made this submission in an affidavit in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) by social activist Pravin Wategaonkar, seeking a probe against Union home minister and former state chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Patil.
Both allegedly owned ‘benami’ flats in the 31-storey Adarsh building in south Mumbai. (‘Benami’ is the Hindi word to describe a property held, action taken or deal transacted in the name of another person.)
“On conclusion of the investigation, the evidence against Shinde and Patil is not found to be sufficient, hence they have not been arraigned as accused,” K Babu, additional superintendent of police, CBI, stated in an additional affidavit that was filed on Tuesday.
The CBI had given a clean chit to Shinde in a previous affidavit submitted in this matter on September 19, stating that there was no evidence to suggest that Shinde had misused his official position as chief minister and that it did not feel it legally necessary to name him as an accused person in the ongoing investigation.
The agency said that there were no new facts or additional information in Wategaonkar’s petition and the documents he had relied upon that altered its view in respect of Shinde and Patil.
Patil was finance minister from October 1999 to December 2008, during which period the state took the decision to allot the land to Adarsh society. Patil’s nephew Aditya owns a flat in the society.
Patil, who deposed before the two-member commission probing the scam in June 2012, had dissociated himself from any role in his nephew becoming a member of the society, or granting any favour or concession towards the construction of the building.
The CBI also said that the probe with regard to ‘benami’ transactions of all the 103 members of the housing society is at a vital stage.