Adarsh scam: Former CM Ashok Chavan will not be prosecuted!
In a huge relief for ex-Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan, Bombay HC rejected Governor's 2016 sanction to prosecute him in the Adarsh housing society scam. During Congress's regime, in 2013, Governor K Shankarnarayanan had rejected CBI's plea for prosecuting Chavan. However, after BJP wrested power, Governor C Vidyasagar Rao overturned the order allowing prosecution. Chavan had challenged this, saying it was "politically-motivated." Here's more.
Adarsh could have been another sea-facing residency in South Mumbai's posh Colaba locality. However, when the tower was going to be occupied in 2010, the navy raised concerns about its height. They cited security reasons as the building overlooked planned helipad and military installations. Following these revelations, skeletons emerged from the closet. RTI activists doggedly pursued it and investigations revealed flouting of many rules.
TV channels pounced upon Adarsh by observing how a building meant for Kargil heroes and war widows was usurped by politicians, bureaucrats and defense personnel. Later, it was revealed that this was meant to be only a six-storey tower. The apartments, which cost about Rs. 8cr were bought by politicians, bureaucrats and defense personnel allegedly at 1/10th of the price.
Basically, everyone from CM Ashok Chavan and municipal commissioner Jairaj Pathak to collectors and Urban Development Department were hand-in-gloves in the scam. Reportedly, in return for a flat, they had all subverted or broken rules.
The scam cost Chavan his chief minister-ship. His successor constituted a judicial committee to investigate the scam. However, while the enquiry was in motion, several documents went missing. This led to Bombay HC's intervention seeking periodic status reports from the CBI. In 2012, 12 bureaucrats and Chavan were named in the chargesheet. Nine were later arrested. However, permission was not granted for Chavan's prosecution.
Chavan, who is Maharashtra Congress chief, reacted to the Bombay HC's decision saying "Truth has prevailed. I have full faith in the judiciary. The governor's order was politically motivated." With Congress increasing its tally in the Gujarat elections and CBI special court acquitting its former lawmakers, this could be another shot-in-the-arm for the grand old party.