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Congress govt touches new low with CBI chargesheet

Former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan was among 13 people chargesheeted by CBI yesterday, in the multi-crore Adarsh Housing scam. This puts the Democratic Front Government, and the Congress in particular, neck deep in trouble, with its already beleaguered image hitting a new low. 

According to insiders, the case will certainly prove a watershed for the future of the state government. The CBI chargesheet may haunt the state politicos for years to come.

The IAS lobby of the state is also unsettled over the chain of events that have transpired ever since the scam was exposed. Two of its officers in service — Jairaj Phatak and PradipVyas — and two retired officers Ramanand Tiwari and Subhash Lala, are among the accused.

While Tiwari was principal secretary in the Urban Development department, Lala held the same post for the then CM Vilasrao Deshmukh. IAS officer Phatak was BMC commissioner and Vyas served as Mumbai city district collector when the controversial developments related with the Colaba society emerged.

Another retired bureaucrat, P V Deshmukh, was deputy secretary in the Urban Development department, and played an important role in granting additional FSI and environmental clearance to the errant society.

The naming of these babus will set a good example for the bureaucracy, who will know how not to discharge their duties in future, said a senior official.

The Congress made desperate last-minute efforts to stall the CBI probe by filing an affidavit, and this raised a number of eyebrows. A senior IAS officer said that this could have been done under pressure from Delhi, as the names of two Union Ministers also figured in the controversy. Had the three other prominent leaders questioned about the case — Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde and Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar — been accused yesterday, the party would have found itself in troubled waters, said a party minister.

BJP MLA Devendra Fadnavis said, “The affidavit filed by the government in the Adarsh case is a total sham. It’s only the civil court which has jurisdiction to decide the title suit. Moreover, the ministry of defence has already challenged the findings of the commission. One more issue that gives jurisdiction to CBI is the forged letter of the MOEF, by which the plot is shown in CRZ-2. Moreover, based on it’s finding, the MOEF has issued a demolition notice to Adarsh and the notice is still in force. Hence, contrary to the claims of the state government, CBI has all the jurisdiction it needs to investigate. But this affidavit has made it clear that the government is keenly trying to save the real culprits.” 

What the politicos said

I am surprised. The government has always maintained that it had not asked for a CBI probe, as the land on which the 31-storeyed building stood belonged to the government — Prithviraj Chavan


It’s unfortunate to have my name in the list of accused. My political rivals are trying to implicate me. Neither was I associated with allotment of land to the society, nor did I have anything to do with the list of its members. The truth will prevail. I have done nothing wrong. — Ashok Chavan


There was also a need to probe the role played by other senior Congress leaders in clearing the society files. Other senior leaders who gave the nod for the society, and those who have handled the files need to be probed and booked — Eknath Khadse, Leader of Opposition

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