The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked Congress leader Ashok Chavan to respond to CBI’s contention that the Governor cannot be impleaded as a respondent to a petition filed by him, challenging the sanction accorded by the gubernatorial office to prosecute him in the Adarsh housing society scam. A division bench headed by Justice R V More was hearing a petition filed by the Congress MP against the decision of Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao granting sanction to the CBI to prosecute him in the scam.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for CBI, today told the court that the Governor cannot be impleaded personally as a party respondent in a petition. “The petitioner (Chavan) will have to delete the Governor’s name as respondent. The state government will have to be impleaded as respondent,” Singh said.
The court then directed Chavan’s counsel Amit Desai to reply to this argument by CBI and posted the petition for further hearing on July 3. In February last year, Governor Rao had granted sanction to CBI to prosecute Chavan for offences under IPC sections 120 (b)(criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating and under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Chavan’s petition termed the Governor’s order as “arbitrary, illegal and unjust” and passed without “proper application of mind” and with “malafide intentions”. CBI had accused Chavan of approving additional floor space index for Adarsh society in return for two flats for his relatives. He was also charged with illegally approving, as the then Revenue Minister, allotment of 40 per cent of the flats to civilians in the high rise in posh Colaba.
While the CBI named him as an accused in its FIR, in December 2013 the then Governor K Sankaranarayanan had refused permission to it to prosecute Chavan in the scam. However, in March 2015, the high court dismissed a plea made by Chavan, who is the sitting Lok Sabha MP from Nanded, seeking deletion of his name from the case, as the Governor had refused to grant sanction. Following this, the CBI re-approached the Governor seeking sanction, which was granted in February 2016.