Mumbai : The CBI has got sanction from the Maharashtra Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao and is now freehand to proceed in the prosecution of former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan in connection with the Adarsh Housing Society scam. Staring hard as an embarrassment to the opposition Congress in the state, Maharashtra Governor’s move has given CBI the necessary sanction it needed to go ahead. The governor today made the prosecution possible by according sanction to the CBI to prosecute the former CM Chavan. The other accused, including top IAS officers and office bearers of the Adarsh Housing Society, were arrested earlier. In its report, the commission of inquiry had indicted four former Chief Ministers — Chavan, late Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde and Shivajirao Nilangekar-Patil, then revenue minister — besides several top bureaucrats and other officials for their role in the high-profile scam — a total of 13 persons, all told.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), through its letter dated October 8, 2015, sought the Governor’s sanction to prosecute Chavan under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code placing the evidence of fresh incriminating material allegedly found against Chavan, who is currently a Lok Sabha member from Maharashtra and chief of the state unit of the Congress party. CBI had earlier sought sanction for Chavan’s prosecution on the basis of the report of Justice Patil Commission of Enquiry and the observations of the Bombay High Court. Therein, the Governor had sought the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers and was advised by them to grant the sanction. Chavan was forced to step down as the Chief Minister in November 2010 after it emerged that three of his relatives had been given apartments in the 30-storey building. Thereafter, the commission was set up in January 2011. However, its report and recommendations were rejected by the then Congress-NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) alliance government in December 2013.
As a prelude to Governor’s sanction, the BJP-ruling government in Maharashtra took an initial step of recommendations. The Maharashtra cabinet, at a meeting last week presided over by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, recommended to the Governor to accord the sanction. Chavan was one of the 13 people chargesheeted by the CBI in the Adarsh scam in July 2012. CBI included a report by a two-member Commission of Inquiry, comprising Justice J.A. Patil (retd) and former chief secretary P. Subramanian, besides Bombay High Court observations in a criminal revision application filed in 2014. Accordingly, Governor granted the sanction to prosecute Chavan under Section 197 of CrPC and Sections 120-B and 420 of the Indian Penal Code in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society case.