In a major relief to former chief minister Ashok Chavan, the Bombay high court on Thursday stayed the trial against him in the Adarsh housing society scam. Justice Sadhana Jadhav, however, clarified that the trial court was free to go ahead with the trial against the other 12 accused in the case.
The trial court has still not taken cognisance of the charge sheet filed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2012 saying HC is seized with the matter. Apart from the main charge sheet, CBI has also filed an additional charge sheet in the benami transactions matter.
CBI had filed a petition in HC in April seeking to drop Chavan as an accused in the Adarsh scam, after the governor refused to grant sanction to prosecute him. The agency had filed the petition after the special CBI court refused to remove his name from the FIR filed in January 2011.
CBI counsel Hiten Venegaonkar said the sanction to prosecute under IPC was required as Chavan was a sitting MLA and former CM and revenue minister at the time of the alleged offence.
Chavan and 12 others were booked under section 120 (b) of the Indian Penal Code for criminal conspiracy and under various charges of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act. He stepped down as CM after his name was linked to the Adarsh controversy towards the end of 2010.
CBI had accused Chavan of approving additional FSI for Adarsh society in exchange for two flats for his relatives. He was also charged with illegally approving allotment of 40% of the flats for civilians as revenue minister when the society was allegedly meant for Kargil war widows and defence personnel.
Chavan had moved HC against CBI's authority to probe the case. His petition is still pending. The 55-year-old is contesting the upcoming elections from Nanded, pending sanction from the governor. The trial court is yet to take cognisance of it.