Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan was among 13 people chargesheeted by CBI in the Adarsh scam today with the Congress leader being accused of granting some approvals to the upscale Housing society here as a quid pro quo for allotment of two flats for his kin.
Describing as unfortunate and unexpected the 10,000-page chargesheet in connection with alleged irregularities in the scam, Chavan, who was forced to quit as Chief Minister in November 2010 after the scam surfaced, accused his political rivals of trying to implicate him. "This (CBI chargesheet) is unfortunate and unexpected. The Adarsh housing is only an administrative matter. However, there is a conspiracy by my rivals to malign me. The Adarsh issue has been blown out of proportion," he told reporters after the chargesheet was filed in the Sessions court.
The central probe agency had registered a case in the scam in the housing society in Colaba on January 29 last year under IPC sections including criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and showing forged documents as genuine, besides sections pertaining to Prevention of Corruption Act.
In its chargesheet, CBI charged Chavan with approving additional Floor Space Index(FSI) for the housing society during his tenure as the Chief Minister and alleged that he gave these approvals as a quid pro quo for getting flats alloted for his mother-in-law and brother-in-law.
CBI also accused Chavan of illegally approving allotment of 40 per cent of flats for civilians in the housing society, which was said to be meant for Kargil widows and war heroes, during his tenure as Revenue Minister in 2001-03. He had dealt with files pertaining to the ownership of land. The chargesheet also named retired Army officers -- Brig (retd) M M Wanchoo, Major Generals T K Kaul and A R Kumar, Colonels T K Sinha and R Bakshi, ex-Congress MLC K L Gidwani, IAS officer Jairaj Phatak and former CIC Ramanand Tiwari.
Besides them, society members R C Thakur, P V Deshmukh, Subhash Lala and Pradeep Vyas have also been named by the CBI The chargesheet came notwithstanding the claims made by Maharashtra Government before the Bombay High Court that the agency had no jurisdiction in probing the case. CBI informed the Bombay High Court that it was going to file a chargesheet in the case after which the agency submitted the document in the Sessions Court.
The statements of union ministers and former chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushil Kumar Shinde, who are under the scanner in the Adarsh scam, have not been incorporated in the chargesheet.
"Neither was I associated with allotment of land to the Adarsh society nor did I have anything to do with the list of its members," Chavan said. "I have full faith in the judiciary and am confident that I will will be proved innocent and emerge out unscathed," the former Chief Minister said, adding that he would be consulting his legal team and decide further course of action on the issue.
The CBI informed the court that though the names of Pradeep Vyas and Jairaj Phatak have been included in the chargesheet, the agency was still awaiting their sanction for prosecution from Department of Personnel.
It has dropped two names among the 14 people against whom an FIR was filed in January 29 last year. They are retired Brigadiers P K Rampal and Romesh Chandra Sharma. However, the CBI included the name of retired Col R Bakshi who allegedly gave a letter certifying that the land did not belong to the Army.
CBI also said in its chargesheet that benami transactions were still under investigations and the agency might file a supplementary chargesheet in the case. The CBI has cited 150 witnesses in the case. The allegations in the chargesheet broadly are that Thakur along with Wanchoo conspired with the members of Defence services officers, officials and functionaries of Maharashtra Government with the intention to illegally get the land allotted in favour of Adarsh cooperative housing society in which they were the members.
The CBI alleged that former Congress MLA Kaniyalal Gidwani joined the conspiracy with the motive to exercise his personal influence with the public servants in the state Government and offer them membership for showing favour to the society.