Mumbai, Jan.18 ANI | 11 months ago

A court in Mumbai on Saturday rejected the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI's) plea to drop the name of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan from the list of accused in the Adarsh Housing Society scam case.

"Can't drop Chavan's name," media reports quoted a bench of the court, as saying.

On Thursday, the CBI had approached a special court to seek approval for dropping the name of former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan from the list of accused in Adarsh housing society scam following the state governor''s refusal to sanction his prosecution.

Special Public Prosecutor Bharat Badami filed an application before CBI court judge S.G. Dighe, requesting him to allow the removal of Chavan''s name from the list of 13 accused charge-sheeted in the case, citing the governor''s decision, which it said was "non-appealable".

The court had reserved its order on the application for Saturday.

At that time it was said that the acceptance of CBI's plea by the court would come as a huge relief for Chavan.

A judicial commission of inquiry set up by the Maharashtra Government had indicted Chavan along with two other former chief ministers-- Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushilkumar Shinde -- for blatant violations of statutory provisions in granting various clearances to the scam-tainted Adarsh housing society.

The judicial panel''s report had said that there was certainly a nexus between the acts of Chavan and benefits derived by his close relatives.

It also said that the membership process clearly indicates that grant of requisite permission by Chavan was by way of quid pro quo.

Chavan, 55, who had to step down as chief minister after the scam surfaced, had challenged his inclusion in the charge sheet on the ground that no sanction for prosecution had been obtained from the state governor.

The Adarsh Housing Society is a cooperative society in Mumbai, India. The origins of the scam go back to February 2002 when a request was made to the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra to allot land in the heart of Mumbai for the construction of a housing complex for "the welfare of serving and retired personnel of the Defence Services".

Over a period of ten years, top politicians, bureaucrats and military officers proceeded to bend several rules and perpetrate various acts of omission and commission in order to have the building constructed and then get themselves allotted flats in this premier property at artificially lowered prices.

In 2011, a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) said, "The episode of Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society reveals how a group of select officials, placed in key posts, could subvert rules and regulations in order to grab prime government land - a public property - for personal benefit."

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) were investigating allegations that three former chief ministers, Sushilkumar Shinde, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Ashok Chavan of the state of Maharashtra were also involved in the scam.

In 2013, the report of a Judicial commission appointed by the Government of Maharashtra indicted four former chief ministers: Ashok Chavan, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde and Shivajirao Nilangekar Patil, 2 former urban development ministers: Rajesh Tope and Sunil Tatkare and 12 top bureaucrats for various illegal acts.

The allottees included Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade.

(Posted on 18-01-2014)

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