The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday filed a chargesheet against BJP Rajya Sabha MP Ajay Sancheti and his family members for owning eight benami flats in the controversial Adarsh cooperative housing society in Mumbai.
In the supplementary chargesheet filed before the special CBI court, 44 new names, including that of Sancheti, have been listed, taking the number of accused in the case to 58. In 2012, the CBI had named 13 persons, including former Maharashtra cm Ashok Chavan, as accused.
Senior CBI counsel Bharat Badami informed CBI Judge S G Dige that the investigation was still on and that the CBI was probing a few more benami flats. Of the 103 flats in the Adarsh society, the CBI claimed to have unearthed 22 benami properties.
Ajay Sancheti, brother Abhay and nephew Paramveer, and his M/S San Finance Corporation in Nagpur were allegedly the proxy owners of eight flats.
Similarly, former Congress MLC Kanhaiyalal Gidwani (deceased), who was one of the promoters of Adarsh society, and his sons allegedly own six benami flats. The CBI has also named Major General (retd) T K Kaul for allegedly owing three flats in Adarsh society.
Ajay Sancheti, known to be a close aide of senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, acquired the flats under benami holders Suresh Atram, Sudhakar Madke, Rajesh Bora, Parmanand Hinduja, Manilal Thakur, Paramhans Ram, Col late Amarjit Singh and Kiran Bhadange, the chargesheet claimed.
Senior officials in the CBI, on condition of anonymity, said they were probing the transactions of 13 other flat holders in the society, including former CM Ashok Chavan’s mother-in-law Bhagwati Sharma and his father-in-law’s brother Madanlal Sharma.
“Most of the flat holders do not have independent means of income. During investigation, they failed to give clear financial details. We have managed to trace the financial routes in transactions involving 22 flats. We are waiting for a few more documents and are scrutinising the financial details of 13 others. Another supplementary chargesheet will be filed soon,” said a CBI official.
The fresh accused have been booked under section 120 (B), 420 of the IPC for criminal conspiracy and cheating, along with section 3 of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988.
Ashok Chavan not named in benami case
In a major relief for former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Congress’s Nanded candidate Ashok Chavan, the CBI on Thursday did not name him in the benami property related to purchase of flat in the Adarsh housing society.
According to the CBI, it was looking into the nexus and quid pro quo angles in 33 benami properties out of 103 flats in Adarsh society and the matter was being probed under the Benami Transactions Prohibition Act. A Maharashtra government inquiry panel had said 22 cases of purchase of flats were found to be benami.
The agency did not name Chavan, who had to resign as CM after the scam relating to the housing society came light, contending there was no money trail linking him to the purchase of the flats and there was no evidence to prove his connivance. It was alleged that two of Chavan’s relatives — mother-in-law Bhagwati Sharma and father-in-law’s brother Madanlal Sharma — were given flats for favours granted to the society.
CBI’s decision to clear his name for lack of evidence will come as a relief to the beleaguered leader who is contesting from Nanded Lok Sabha seat.