MUMBAI: In a setback to state Congress chief, Ashok Chavan, Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao on Thursday granted the CBI sanction to prosecute the former Chief Minister in the Adarsh Housing Society scam.
A note from the Raj Bhavan stated that Rao had given consent to the prosecution of Chavan on charges of conspiracy and cheating. The permission was granted on the basis of a report submitted by a judicial inquiry commission headed by former high court judge J A Patil. The CBI had claimed the inquiry report would work as additional evidence against Chavan, an MP from Nanded, to nail his role in erecting the controversial building close to a naval base.
The CBI had sought the permission on October 8, 2015. A Raj Bhavan release stated: “The Governor had recently sought the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers and was advised by the Council of Ministers to grant the sanction (to CBI).”
The CBI has already made Chavan accused number 13 in the case. It has filed a charge sheet also. Now, thanks to consent from the Governor, Chavan will have to face trial.
Chavan alleged the BJP was putting pressure on the CBI to take action against him at the behest of its party members. “Is BJP MP Kirit Somaiya a part of the government that it endorses his application and the entire process starts? The grant of sanction for prosecution and the CBI’s decision to move the application in the first place is on the insistence and pressure from the BJP,” he alleged. Somaiya had approached the state government in 2015 alleging that the CBI was deliberately ignoring adverse strictures made by the Patil Commission against Chavan. Somaiya had also written to the CBI, asking it to reconsider its position.
- Chavan suggested inclusion of civilian members in Adarsh society, which was originally meant for war veterans and widows of defence personnel.
- As Revenue Minister, Chavan granted additional space, which was reserved for a bus depot, to the housing society.
- The original seven-storey building rose to 32 floors posing serious threat to nearby naval base
- Chavan’s mother-in-law, father-in-law Sharma and sister-in-law got flats in the society.
In December 2013, then Governor K Sankarnarayanan had refused to give the CBI sanction to prosecute Chavan, leaving the agency with no choice but to close the case against him. “I had found no substance in the CBI’s case,” Sankarnarayanan had told Express after he stepped down. BJP spokesperson Ganesh Hake, meanwhile, refuted Chavan’s allegations. “If Chavan is innocent, the court will free him of all accusations. Why is he running away from trial?” he asked.