The state government and the Central Bureau of Investigation Wednesday objected to Governor C Vidyasagar Rao being made a party in a petition filed by former chief minister Ashok Chavan relating to the Adarsh Housing scam case. The court was hearing a petition filed by Chavan challenging a decision of Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao to grant sanction to the CBI to prosecute him in the Adarsh Housing Society scam. He had made Rao a respondent in the matter.
On Wednesday, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the state government and CBI, said, “I have preliminary objection in the case. Can the Governor, who is a respondent in the case, be made a party?”
Pointing out to several Supreme Court orders, he further argued that there exist “several orders of the apex court establishing that a Governor cannot be subjected to any court proceedings in the country”.
Chavan’s counsel Amit Desai, however, said that CBI had not raised such an objection earlier. Moreover, the reason for making him a party in the case was merely because he had granted the sanction, and added that Chavan had not claimed any relief against the Governor.
A bench led by Justice Ranjit More has now directed Chavan to respond to the state government’s contention by July 3.
In February last year, Governor Rao had granted sanction to the CBI to prosecute Chavan for offences of criminal conspiracy and cheating under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, and under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. However, in December 2013, Rao’s predecessor, Governor K Sankaranarayanan, had refused a sanction to the CBI to initiate proceedings against Chavan.
Chavan had approached the High Court challenging Rao’s decision, claiming it was “arbitrary, illegal and unjust” and passed with “malafide intentions”.