'It should have happened much earlier'

Justice (retired) J A Patil, who led the judicial probe in Adarsh scam, feels vindicated and satisfied after the Governor granted permission to the CBI to prosecute former CM Ashok Chavan for his alleged role in the housing scam

“This should had happened much earlier (when the commission submitted its report to the Congress-NCP government),” Justice (retired) J A Patil, who headed the panel to probe the scam, told mid-day from Pune.

Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan along with other party leaders. File pic
Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan along with other party leaders. File pic

Patil said everything was clearly mentioned in his report and it was expected of the then government to act on it. Chavan had to quit as CM in late 2010 after the report accused him of misusing his power to secure flats in the south Mumbai tower.

When asked as to why did the then Congress-NCP government did not accept his entire report to pave way for Chavan’s prosecution, Patil said the government that was in power then was different. “The current government is different and it thought of doing what it deemed fit in this particular case,” he said.

Upon being informed that Chavan has accused the BJP of pursuing political vendetta, Patil said it was natural for the leader to have such argument as his defence. Patil added that he was never felt bogged down despite political stalwarts deposing before his commission.

Initial rejection
The then governor, K Sankaranarayanan, found no case against Chavan and rejected the CBI’s request to prosecute him in 2013. This denial then led the Prithviraj Chavan government to reject the Adarsh commission report in its entirety. However, the government was forced to accept it partiality in January 2014 after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi insisted that the state must not scrap the report.

The judicial commission had indicted Chavan for quid pro quo in getting flats for his relatives in the Adarsh tower. While accepting the report partially, the then government stated that Chavn would not face criminal action because he was already facing similar charges in a separate case filed by the CBI.

The investigation agency, which was denied permission to prosecute Chavan during the Congress-NCP rule, sought similar permission from the NDA government based on the findings of the Patil commission.

A few of the findings
>> Four former CMs — late Vilasrao Deshmukh, Ashok Chavan, Sushilkumar Shinde and Shivajirao Nilangekar — and two NCP leaders — Sunil Tatkare and Rajesh Tope — offered political patronage to the Adarsh society

>> Ashok Chavan, Babasaheb Kupekar (former speaker), and five others indicted for granting various permissions in exchange for flats in the society

>> 12 bureaucrats, including former secretaries to chief minister Subhash Lalla and CS Sangeetrao, former urban development secretary Ramanand Tiwari, ex-BMC commissioner Jairaj Phatak, ex-Mumbai collector Dr Pradip Vyas, and former chief secretary DK Sankaran, indicted for violating service conduct rules and using their official position (quid pro quo) to get flats

>> 25 of the 102 approved members of the society are ineligible, including Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, former Shiv Sena minister Suresh Prabhu, Seema Sharma (kin of Ashok Chavan), among others 22 flats were benami in the society and hence illegal

>> The land on which the tower is built is not owned by defence department. The plot of land and membership to the society were not exclusively reserved for Kargil war heroes or their survivors

Committee constituted
After the Adarsh scam broke out in October 2010, the state set up a two-member commission comprising Justice (retd) Patil and former chief secretary P Subrahmanyam. The commission submitted its report on April 19, 2013.

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