Over a year after the CBI registered a case against 14 persons in the Adarsh housing society scam and two months after making the first of nine arrests,the central agency is likely to add two new charges against the accused.
Opposing the bail application filed by seven of the nine arrested accused,CBI counsel Bhart Badami on Monday told the court that while investigations are still on,the agency is finding out if two additional sections under the Indian Penal Code can be applied too 409 (Criminal breach of trust by public servant or by banker,merchant or agent) and 467 (forgery of valuable security).
The accused on May 21 moved a fresh bail application seeking bail on the ground that 60 days have passed since the first arrest and the investigating agency is yet to file a chargesheet. Under the Code of Criminal Procedure,it is a mandatory provision that an accused can avail bail. We have cited Supreme Court judgment,which clearly stated that it is a courts duty to inform an accused if he has spent 60 days in jail, said former Mumbai collector Pradeep Vyas lawyer Swapna Kode.
IAS officer Vyas has been behind bars along with eight others – Maj Gen (retd) A R Kumar,Maj Gen (retd) T K Kaul,former Congress legislator Kanahiyalal Gidwani,retired defence estates officer R C Thakur,Brig (retd) M M Wanchoo,former deputy secretary (urban development) P V Deshmukh,former municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak and retired information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari.
In past,too,the accused had moved for bail,but their applications were rejected after the CBI told the court that the accused are influential persons and could possibly influence witnesses.
Meanwhile,a senior IAS officers deposition in the two-member judicial commission has revealed that the state government might have delayed taking action against the society for two years regarding issuing a stop-work notice. This came during questioning of the official,Additional Chief Secretary (Urban Development) T C Benjamin,by the Adarsh commission. Benjamin was shown a letter written by the urban development department (UDD) to the Western Naval Command,the MCGM and the MMRDA. The letter had asked the MMRDA to file a reply with respect to allegations against the Adarsh society,subsequent to a complaint received by activist Simpreet Singh regarding alleged civic violations.
The MMRDA,in its reply,had said permission to construct the building had been granted and that construction had begun on the site. According to Benjamin,the UDD had expected a detailed report on the complaint by Singh and the MMRDA did not address these issues.
This communication took place between September and November 2008.
However,it was only in October 2010 that the the state government issued to the MMRDA to stop work on the project. Deposing before the commission,Benjamin admitted that in this period,the construction of the Adarsh CHS was nearly complete.