Mumbai: In a major relief for former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, Governor K Sankaranarayanan today refused the CBI permission to prosecute him in the Adarsh Housing Society scam. The governor has however not stated any reason for his decision so far.
The BJP says they will explore all legal options. "We want to know reasons behind refusal. It is a clear case of quid pro quo and is quite shocking," Maharashtra BJP President Devendra Fadnavis said.
Mayank Gandhi of the Aam Aadmi Party criticised the Governor's decision saying, "The governor should have risen above politics and taken his decision."
Mr Chavan had stepped down as Chief Minister in November 2010 after allegations against him surfaced in the scam. He was later chargesheeted by the CBI. But since Mr Chavan is a former chief minister, the agency required the Governor's permission to prosecute him.
In its 10,000-page chargesheet filed before the Registrar of a sessions court in July 2012, the CBI had named the former Chief Minister and 12 others. The investigation agency alleges that as the Revenue Minister, Mr Chavan recommended the allotment of 40 per cent of flats to civilians in what was supposed to be a society for Kargil War widows and Defence personnel. Three of his relatives own flats in the society. The politician has rejected all allegations against him.
When Mr Chavan appeared before the Adarsh Commission of Enquiry that was set up to prepare a report on the scam, he laid the blame on bureaucrats. Following the expose, many top bureaucrats and army officers who owned flats in the building had come under the scanner.
The report submitted by the Commission of Enquiry is expected to be tabled in the ongoing Winter Session of the Maharashtra Assembly that ends on December 20.
The Adarsh Society scam broke in 2010 when it emerged that on a prime plot in South Mumbai, an illegal 104-apartment society had come up in which key Defence personnel, bureaucrats, and politicians owned flats. It later emerged these men had colluded to grab a Defence plot and got it an illegal environmental clearance. It also got other concessions by claiming Kargil War heroes and widows were part of the society.