CBI's sluggish Adarsh probe raises questions

EIGHTEEN months after a case was registered in the Adarsh Housing Society scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) failed yet again to file a chargesheet yesterday.

This was the fourth occasion in which the nation’s premier investigative agency failed to file the much-anticipated chargesheet.

The political storm kicked up by the case seems to have failed utterly to generate speed at the CBI quarters, which has worked at a sluggish pace, in spite of several strongly worded reprimands from the Bombay High Court.

Thanks to its failure to file a chargesheet within the given time frame, all the accused who were behind bars earlier were granted bail by the court.
The CBI’s inexplicable tardiness has strengthened public perception that the agency is working at the behest of its political masters. In fact, the BJP has already rechristened it the Congress Bureau of Investigations, a name that needs no further explanation.

The CBI has always maintained a safe distance from the crux of the scam — the alleged involvement of political leaders, who used their political sway to dole out a prime plot of land in South Mumbai to a society that is teeming with officials from the defence, the state, the political classes, as well as their kin.

The sluggishness of the agency also indicates that strings are being pulled to protect former CMs Vilarao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde, Ashok Chavan and Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar, as well as key figures from Congress, NCP, BJP and Shiv Sena. Reports have also emerged that CBI bigwigs have spent hours cogitating over whether to include the names of some senior political leaders as conspirators in the case, in their reports.

It is yet to be seen if the chargesheet will be filed against all the 14 accused, including former CM Ashok Chavan. And if the CBI keeps removing names of the prominent public figures who faced the inquiry commission, the agency is sure to lose credibility in the eyes of the public. Even now, one wonders, was the CBI putting its chargesheet on hold till the state government began its fresh stance of opposing the probe?  

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