Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao today gave sanction to CBI to prosecute former chief minister Ashok Chavan in Adarsh scam case, a move which the Congress leader dubbed as “vindictive” action by ruling BJP in the state.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, however, rejected Chavan’s charge and defended the decision of his cabinet to give go-ahead in the case, holding there was sufficient ground for that.
The Governor’s nod came days after the state Government recommended to Governor Rao to give sanction to CBI to prosecute Chavan under section 197 of CrPC, for offences under sections 120-B (conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of IPC in Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society case.
On October 8, 2015, Joint Director CBI, Mumbai, had sought sanction for prosecution of Chavan under section 197 CrPC on the basis of additional or fresh material, like the report of Justice Patil Commission of Inquiry and the observations of the Bombay High Court in the criminal revision application, an official in the Governor’s office said.
“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),” he added.
Chavan, a Lok Sabha member from Nanded and the state Congress president, had to step down as Chief Minister after the scam surfaced in 2010. He was among the 12 persons chargesheeted by the probe agency in connection with the case.
CBI had alleged that Chavan suggested inclusion of civilian members in Adarsh Housing Society, meant for war veterans and widows of defence personnel, to secure flats for his relatives in the plush complex situated at Colaba in south Mumbai.
In December 2013, the then Governor K Sankaranarayanan had refused sanction to CBI to prosecute Chavan in the Adarsh housing scam, leaving the agency with no choice but to close the case against him.
Reacting to the development, Chavan told PTI, “The (Justice Patil) committee’s report is absolutely clear that there was no reservation for land for any Army personnel and the land belonged to the state government. This is just a vindictive attitude of the BJP.”
He alleged that the BJP is putting “political pressure” on the CBI to take action against him at the behest of some members of the party.
Refuting the charge, Fadnavis said the Advocate General, who was consulted, had clearly opined that “such permission should be and could be granted” since a new set of facts were discovered after the previous Governor declined permission to prosecute Chavan.
“CBI said that after the last Governor rejected permission to prosecute Ashok Chavan, a new set of facts were discovered which clearly proves quid pro quo, that is, he gives permissions and his close relatives get flats. Thus, the CBI once again asked the Governor to permit it to prosecute Chavan,” Fadnavis told PTI.