Adarsh Scam: Ex-Maha CM Ashok Chavan Not to Face Prosecution
Bombay HC says CBI failed to present any fresh evidence against Chavan while seeking sanction to prosecute him.
In a major relief to Congress leader Ashok Chavan, the Bombay High Court on Friday, 22 December, set aside the sanction granted to the CBI by Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao to prosecute him in the Adarsh housing society scam.
A division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Sadhana Jadhav ruled that though the CBI had claimed to be in possession of fresh evidence against Chavan at the time of seeking the sanction, it “failed to present any fresh evidence.”
The bench said the material presented by the CBI before Governor Rao could not be converted into credible fresh evidence against Chavan.
The sanctioning authority is an independent body that can’t allow itself to be influenced by anyone’s opinion.
Bombay High Court
‘Truth Has Prevailed’: Chavan
Addressing the media after the Bombay HC’s order, Chavan said:
The truth has ultimately prevailed, we always had full faith in the country’s judiciary... These issues were politically used around 2014 by BJP to malign the Congress party.
Chavan served as the chief minister between December 2008 and November 2010, before he was asked to step down on charges of corruption in the Adarsh scam.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by Chavan, challenging the sanction granted by the Governor in February 2016 to prosecute him under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) related to criminal conspiracy and cheating as well as under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Chavan had challenged Rao's order in the High Court, calling it “arbitrary, illegal and unjust” and what was passed with “malafide intentions.”
The CBI has accused Chavan of approving additional floor space index (FSI) for the Adarsh society in posh south Mumbai, and accepting two flats for his relatives in return, when he was the chief minister.
He is also accused of illegally approving, as Revenue Minister earlier, allotment of 40 percent of flats to civilians, even though the society was originally meant for defence personnel.
The CBI had earlier told the High Court that if Chavan's petition is allowed, it would amount to his acquittal, which would render the entire probe exercise futile.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)
(This story has been updated to reflect Chavan’s reaction)
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