A go-ahead to prosecute former chief minister Ashok Chavan was denied by the Maharashtra governor because the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) could not prove its case.
Documents provided to former central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi under Right to Information (RTI) Act from the governor's office state that both governor K Sankaranarayanan and solicitor general of India Mohan Parasaran did not find merit in the case made out by the CBI on two counts for seeking prosecution of Chavan in the Adarsh scam.
The two counts were about Chavan becoming a part of the criminal conspiracy with the main accused to get civilians into the Adarsh society by proposing their inclusion with an intention that his relatives can benefit and for allotting of FSI to the society.
Soon after CBI asked for permission for prosecution, the governor's office had sought legal opinion on
the matter. The opinion sought was on eight counts. Among them were whether the charges against Chavan needed the governor's sanction as per Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and whether after considering the entire matter placed by CBI before the governor, the case against the ex-CM was made out.
Relying on the documents submitted, the governor in his December 17, 2013 order stated that it was clear that civilians were part of the process of negotiating/liaisoning and Chavan did not propose them for the first time. He added that the CBI could not put a prima facie case that he acted on quid pro quo. On the second matter about non-deduction of 15% RG (recreation ground) that resulted in extra FSI, the governor observed in his report that Chavan relied in the presentation made by the planning authorities like the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and Urban Development Department (UDD).
Parasaran observed in his letter to the governor that CBI had categorically stated that "no evidence came available" where illegality of the FSI given could be established. In his report, Parasaran stated that he was conscious about the scam and the affect it had on the morale of people but there was no case to sanction prosecution.
However, Gandhi stated that the governor should not have decided on the evidence. "The section under which sanction for prosecution was sought pertains to only about checking if a government servant has acted as per his duty. It is about checking his act in the discharge of his official duty. The governor and the solicitor should not have gone judging the evidence," said Gandhi.