A Bombay High Court bench comprising Justice Naresh Patil and Justice V L Achliya may recuse itself from hearing an application, which demands that the CBI should make former state CM Shivajirao Nilangekar-Patil an accused in the Adarsh Housing Society scam.
Justice Achliya said he was serving as the Principal Secretary (Law and Judiciary) in Mantralaya when the Adarsh commission was set up. “I served as the Law Secretary in Mantralaya and was involved in the formulation of the terms of reference when the Adarsh commission was set up. So many files came to me when I served the post for almost three-and-a-half years,” said the judge.
Activist and petitioner in the case, Pravin Wategaonkar, however, said he had faith in the bench and had no objection in the case being heard by the bench. Wategaonkar also said the facts of the case were being suppressed. The CBI’s counsel told the court that investigation for benami transactions in the scam was underway. Wategaonkar, on the other hand, said his case had nothing to do with benami flats. “The case revolves around the (Prevention of) Money Laundering Act. The main allegation is criminal conspiracy. Whatever chargesheet has been filed in the case is diluted and facts have been suppressed,” he said.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Kevic Setalvad said the petitioner was only filing one application after the other. “Whenever this matter came up before the earlier bench, a fresh application was filed by the petitioner,” the ASG said.
The court posted the matter for hearing on January 22. Wategaonkar has relied on an application of CBI in a subordinate court, seeking the custody of former MLA and Adarsh promoter Kanhaiyalal Gidwani when he was arrested.
“CBI in its remand application said Gidwani had opened an account in Kallappanna Awade Ichalkaranji Janata Sahakari Bank in Sangli under a proxy name, in which huge amounts of cash were deposited by him. Most of the amount deposited was then transferred to the accounts of his wife, sons and daughters-in-law and also to the account of M/s Jai Maharashtra in which his sons are directors,” the application said. “The said amounts were used for making payments for the benami flats booked in Adarsh. “Arun Dawle, son-in-law of Nilangekar-Patil, received at least Rs 17.60 lakh from the Jai Maharashtra’s account. Nilangekar-Patil misused his official position and showed undue favours to the society. In return, Dawle was allotted flat in the society,” the activist alleged.
Nilangekar-Patil was revenue minister when the Adarsh Society was allotted land in Colaba in 2004.