A day after registering a case in the Adarsh Housing Society scam,the CBI on Sunday carried out searches at premises in Maharashtra and Bihar of three main accused,including a retired Army officer and a Congress leader,named in the FIR.
The searches were conducted at the residences and other places of the society’s general secretary RC Thakur,retired Brigadier MM Wanchoo and Congress leader KL Gidwani in various parts of Maharashtra and Bihar. The office of the Adarsh society located in posh Colaba here was among the places raided.
The raids come a day after the CBI filed an FIR naming 13 people,including former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and some retired senior Army officials. “Searches are being conducted at Thakur’s residences in Bihar,Nagpur and Thane and Wanchoo’s house in Pune and Gidwani’s house in Mumbai. Searches are also being conducted at the office of Adarsh society,” a senior CBI official said.
According to CBI sources,Thakur,Wanchoo and Gidwani were allegedly the prime movers in building the society. All the three are accused of usurping land not belonging to them and illegally grabbing it,the sources said.
Thakur was the then sub-divisional officer at the Defence Estate Office of Mumbai while Gidwani,a former Congress MLC,was the chief promoter of the society.
Apart from Chavan and the trio,the FIR also names retired Lt General P K Rampal,Major Generals A R Kumar and T K Kaul,the then Principal Secretary (Urban Development) Ramanand Tiwari,who was recently suspended by Maharashtra government as Information Commissioner,Subash Lala,the then Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and Brig (retd) R C Sharma.
The FIR has been filed under various sections of IPC including criminal conspiracy,cheating,forgery and showing forged document as genuine besides sections pertaining to Prevention of Corruption Act.
Chavan,who had to quit as chief minister last year after it was found that his family members also owned flats in the society,was revenue minister between 2001-2003 and had dealt with files pertaining to the ownership of the land.
He is alleged to have recommended 40 per cent allotment of flats to civilians in the society,which was meant for war widows and heroes of Kargil war,the sources said.
The FIR also named Pradeep Vyas,the then collector of Mumbai who is alleged to have ratified 71 persons in the society of which several were ineligible members. His wife Seema Vyas is alleged to have a flat in the society.
The agency had registered a preliminary enquiry into the scam in November last year.
Two former army chiefs Gen Deepak Kapoor and Gen N C Vij and ex-navy chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh owned flats in the scam-hit society building. However,the former top chiefs have claimed that they have now surrendered the flats.
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had on January 16 ordered demolition of the building within three months,holding it as “unauthorised” and built in violation of the spirit of coastal regulations.
Apart from violating the CRZ norms,the society is alleged to have got clearances from various authorities through dubious means. The plush housing society,built on prime defence land has been constructed in alleged violation of rules. The building was originally meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil war heroes and their kin but was later extended to 31 floors without mandatory permission.