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Bombay HC sets aside Governor nod to prosecute Ashok Chavan

Court says CBI had no fresh evidence,  Ashok Chavan welcomes the order

Published: 23rd December 2017 02:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd December 2017 12:18 PM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

MUMBAI: A day after the 2G verdict, there was more good news for the Congress, particularly for its Maharashtra unit president and former chief minister Ashok Chavan, as the Bombay High Court on Friday quashed the sanction granted by Governor Vidyasagar Rao in 2016 to the CBI to prosecute him in the Adarsh housing scam.Chavan, who had to step down as CM in 2010 after his name figured in the scam, welcomed the HC ruling, saying it had “restored the prestige of the Governor’s office”. 

“The BJP had used the issue politically to malign the Congress. However, the truth has prevailed. I always had complete faith in judiciary,” he told The New Indian Express.“I suffered personal damage in the last seven years because of the charges against me. I had to quit as the CM. But, I am involved in party work. I am thankful to the people in my constituency for standing by me,” Chavan said after the decision that might pave way for his acquittal in the Adarsh scam case.

A Bench of Justices Ranjit More and Sadhana Jadhav said the sanction granted by the Governor could not be sustained as it was not based on any credible fresh material produced by the CBI, though the agency had claimed to be in possession of fresh evidence against Chavan at the time of seeking sanction.“The sanctioning authority is an independent body that can’t allow itself to be influenced by anyone’s opinion,” the court said.

However, it held that it was “permissible” for Governor Rao to reconsider his predecessor’s order.
The then governor, K Shankarnarayanan, had in 2013 denied permission to the CBI to prosecute Chavan for the alleged scam in which a judicial team of the state government had indicted four former CMs—Chavan, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde and Shivajirao Nilangekar Patil—two former urban development ministers— Rajesh Tope and Sunil Tatkar—and 12 top bureaucrats.The CBI had accused Chavan of approving additional floor space index (FSI) for Adarsh housing society and in return, getting two flats allotted in the names of his relatives when he was CM. 

He was also accused of illegally approving, as revenue minister earlier, the allotment of 40 per cent of flats to civilians.Governor Rao had last year reversed his predecessor’s decision. Chavan challenged the decision in the High Court.State Congress leaders hailed the court ruling. “The decision is a slap to the vendetta politics being played by the BJP,” said party spokesperson Sachin Sawant. The BJP’s “sinister campaign” and false propaganda to malign the Congress had been exposed after 2G verdict and the Adarsh case verdicts, said Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam.

The BJP said since the governor had given the sanction after the objections raised by the High Court, the government will look at the finer legal aspects and take further action.Replying to the charge of political vendetta, state BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said, “The Adarsh scam happened during the previous Congress regime. All the actions that were taken in the case were by the previous Congress government. Was the ex-CM pointing fingers within his own party?”



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