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Adarsh panel report won’t affect probe,says CBI

The judicial panel’s finding that the Adarsh housing society land belongs to the Maharashtra government and that it was not reserved for Kargil war widows may have come as a major relief for the politicians,bureaucrats and former Army officers implicated in the case,but the CBI feels none of these findings are likely to have any bearing on its investigations.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai |
April 18, 2012 5:18:55 am

The judicial panel’s finding that the Adarsh housing society land belongs to the Maharashtra government and that it was not reserved for Kargil war widows may have come as a major relief for the politicians,bureaucrats and former Army officers implicated in the case,but the CBI feels none of these findings are likely to have any bearing on its investigations.

The agency,which after a year of investigations arrested nine of the 14 people named as accused in the case,claimed the report focused on the civil aspect of the case. “We have invoked several sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and have been probing the allegations of corruption,norms that were flouted by the accused and how officers misused their position. Most accused are suspected to have paid money through benami channels and that has been probed by us,” said a senior CBI officer privy to the investigations.

So far,the CBI has arrested nine persons,including former municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak and ex-MLC from the Congress Kanhaiyalal Gidwani.

The CBI in its FIR had claimed that former chief minister Ashok Chavan during his tenure as revenue minister allegedly became part of the criminal conspiracy along with other accused in the approval of a resolution recommending inclusion of civilians in Adarsh society,originally meant for Kargil war widows and victims. However,the judicial panel report has concluded that the land was never reserved for the widows.

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“He not only inducted civilians but during his tenure the process of allotment of land was expedited by the officials of the state government. Chavan also gave the society the concession of 15 per cent recreation ground (RG),which was not allowed earlier by the government,and in turn got membership for his close relatives. We have gathered enough evidence to show he abused his official position and favoured the society,” said a CBI officer.

Similarly,others have also been accused of wrong documentation,issuing fraudulent no-objection certificates and having misrepresented the Ministry of Defence before Parliament.

Soon after the report was tabled before the Assembly on Tuesday,defence lawyers informed the court about the contents. Senior counsel Satish Maneshinde told the court that the report will be annexed to the bail applications. “The report will strengthen our case before the court now,” he said.

Meanwhile,Gidwani — who was present in the court — said,“The matter is sub-judice. The truth will come out in future course. We will get justice.”

So far,retired Major Generals T K Kaul,former deputy secretary to the Urban Development Department P V Deshmukh,former city collector Pradeep Vyas,Phatak,principal secretary to the state urban development department Ramanand Tiwari have applied for bail,claiming they have been falsely implicated. The application is scheduled for hearing on April 19. The accused have also been granted permission to attend the court on the days their bail application will be heard. The CBI had opposed this plea,claiming the Act did not make any such concessions to the accused.

Gidwani,too,has informed the court that he will move a fresh bail application on Wednesday. Other accused — A R Kumar,retired defence estates officer R C Thakur and Brigadier (Retd) M M Wanchoo — are yet to seek bail.

The special court on Tuesday sent all the accused to judicial custody till April 30.

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