HC slams CBI for not arresting accused in Adarsh scam

The Bombay High Court on Monday lashed out at the Central Bureau of Investigation for ‘dragging its feet in the Adarsh scam and not taking the necessary action against high-ranking politicians allegedly involved in the case’.

Published: March 13, 2012 12:25 am

The Bombay High Court on Monday lashed out at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for ‘dragging its feet in the Adarsh scam and not taking the necessary action against high-ranking politicians allegedly involved in the case’.

Justice P B Majmudar and Justice R D Dhanuka warned the central agency that if it fails to take necessary action in the case,the court may “have no option but to call upon the director of the CBI”.

The court’s criticism came after the CBI submitted a confidential status report about its investigations in the case so far. The judges were irked to find that though the agency had evidence against a number of accused in the case,no arrests had been made.

“If there is prima facie evidence against some people,why are you shying away from taking action? Why are you not arresting such persons?” the bench asked.

The CBI said it would make the necessary arrests at the time of filing the chargesheet. The court,however,refused to accept its statement and observed that this was not the procedure followed in other cases.

Strongly expressing his displeasure,Justice Majmudar said,“For heaven’s sake,take action boldly.” The court added,“If prima facie case is made out against anyone then action should be taken irrespective of who that person is. Delay in such cases can be dangerous.”

The court took note of the fact that some public servants accused in the controversy are still in service. “At least those in service should be suspended. They should also be made to face a departmental inquiry,” the court said. The court directed public prosecutor P A Pol to issue a letter to state’s chief secretary for putting under suspension serving government officials involved in the scam.

Meanwhile,arguing for the Enforcement Directorate (ED),Additional Solicitor General Darius Khambata said the agency is “completely willing” to conduct its independent inquiry in the case. He,however,expressed concern that a parallel investigation might lead to duplication of effort. He noted that although the CBI has shared information with the ED,it has not yet shared its conclusion on the case. The ED also submitted a confidential status report to the court.

The judges suggested that in the interest of justice,the CBI,ED and the Income Tax Department should have a joint confidential meeting to discuss the case. “If the agencies so desire,they can find out the truth in no time. But there should be a common objective to book the guilty,” Justice Majmudar said.

The court also lauded the efforts of the CBI officers who “showed courage” in arresting the agency’s counsel Mandar Goswami,accused of accepting a bribe from accused Kanhaiyalal Gidwani,a former MLA,for dissolution of the charges pressed against him. “We don’t know whom to trust and (whom) not these days. But if we find that any CBI officer is showing favours to the accused,then we will form a separate investigating team to probe the case,” the court warned.

In the previous hearing on February 28,the judges had severely criticized the ED for not taking proactive steps to probe the Adarsh scam,and asked the special director of the agency to remain present in the subsequent hearing.

The case has now been adjourned till March 21.

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