CBI: One Union of India, no need to ask state

Jul 05, 2012, 06:56 IST | Samarth Moray

In spite of stiff opposition from the state government, the investigative agency finally filed its chargesheet yesterday; the document ran into thousands of pages, and had to be carried out of the court in several large cartons

A last ditch attempt to avoid the inevitable was averted yesterday, when the chargesheet in the Adarsh Society scam was finally filed with the CBI Special Court about 1.30 pm.

In truble: Former chief minister Ashok Chavan was one of the accused chargesheeted by CBI yesterday, in the multi-crore Adarsh Housing scam. Pic/Atul Kamble

Earlier in the morning, the Bombay High Court heard the Adarsh PILs, in which the Ministry of Defence (MoD) intervened. The MoD contested the affidavit filed by the state, which stated that the CBI never sought its permission before proceeding with investigations. Both the state and the society lawyers contested the MoD’s intervention.

When the court adjourned the matter for two weeks, advocates representing the society suggested that the chargesheet be filed two weeks later as well. But it was eventually filed.

A former lawyer for the CBI said, “The CBI does not need sanction to investigate any case. The only sanctions required are when government officers are involved and sanctions from competent authorities are needed to prosecute them. The affidavit by the state government is a ploy to delay court proceedings.”

In court, counsels representing CBI said that since there is only one Union of India, the question of seeking the sanction of the state of Maharashtra didn’t arise.

Advocate Y P Singh, representing the petitioners, told a division bench of Justices Sharad Bobde and Mridula Bhatkar, “The CBI manual says that the State’s unconditional consent is required before investigating.”

The chargesheet
The chargesheet, which ran into thousands of pages, had to be carried into the verification department of the Sessions Court in several large cartons. 150 witnesses are named, according to CBI’s lawyers. Eight to 10 witnesses recorded their statements before a Magistrate in accordance with Section 164 of the CrPC.

Over 160 different documents are appended to the chargesheet, each of them running into hundreds of pages. According to sources, the former CMs Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushilkumar Shinde’s names, though present in the chargesheet, do not feature in the list of accused — they are only mentioned and identified as having signed on letters of intent and allotment.

Three persons named in the 2011 FIR have not been named in the chargesheet — these include RC Sharma and TK Rampal. The third person, M Guruswami, who is a former army official, is not named as he passed away.

In addition to the chargesheet, sources said a supplementary chargesheet may also be filed in December, containing details of the owners of 24 benami flat holders. There are a total of 103 flats in the society. Sanctions for prosecuting former IAS officers Pradeep Vyas and Jairaj Phatak are also still pending.

The accused
Maj Gen (Retd) AR Kumar
Maj Gen (Retd) TK Kaul
Brig (Retd) M M Wanchu
Ex-collector Pradeep Vyas
Ex-defence estates officer R C Thakur
Ex-deputy secretary of urban development (UD) PV Deshmukh
Ex-MLC Kanhaiyalal Gidwani
Former IAS Officer Subhash Lalla
PK Sinha
Ashok Chavan
R Bakshi
Ramanand Tiwari

What the law says
According to Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, the CBI cannot exercise its powers and jurisdiction in any area in any state, without the consent of that state. An exception is made for Union Territories and Railway areas. As per Section 6A, the CBI needs permission of the central government to investigate any offence committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The Adarsh scam falls in this category. 

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