NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today asked the CBI to respond to a plea by Mumbai-based Adarsh cooperative housing society seeking de-freezing of its bank accounts, which were frozen during the probe into the 2010 Adarsh scam.
The Adarsh scam had kicked up a political storm leading to the resignation of the then Congress Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan. The 31-storey Adarsh apartments was built at Colaba in posh South Mumbai locality for 1999 Kargil war heroes and war widows.
A bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer asked the probe agency to file its response within two weeks after the counsel appearing for the housing society said they needed money for maintenance of the building.
Senior counsel Meenakshi Arora, appearing for the housing society, told the apex court that money in the frozen bank accounts belonged to the cooperative society which has nothing to do with the alleged scam.
She said the Bombay High Court had dismissed their plea seeking de-freezing of the bank accounts and said that it would remain frozen till the conclusion of the criminal case trial.
"These bank accounts should be de-freezed. The cooperative society is not an accused in the case. These accounts were frozen when the probe had started in the case," Arora said, adding that the cooperative society and its bank accounts have "no direct link" with the alleged crime.
The Bombay High Court had earlier ordered demolition of the apartments and sought initiation of criminal proceedings against politicians and bureaucrats for alleged misuse of powers, holding that the tower was illegally constructed. It had asked the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest to carry out the demolition at the expense of Adarsh Society. It had also asked the Centre and Maharashtra government
to consider initiating civil and criminal proceedings against bureaucrats, ministers and politicians for misuse and abuse of power to get plots under the scheme, originally meant for Kargil war heroes and war widows.
Later, the top court in July last year had said that the Adarsh apartments would not be demolished for the time being and asked the Centre to secure it after taking its possession from the housing society.
In 2011, the Maharashtra government had set up a two-member judicial commission headed by Justice J A Patil to inquire into the Adarsh scam.
After probing the issue for over two years, it submitted its report in 2013, which found that there had been 25 illegal allotments, including 22 purchases made by proxy.
Later, the CBI, the Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate (ED) also investigated the scam.