Relief For Ashok Chavan In Adarsh Scam As Court Rejects Trial Sanction

Relief For Ashok Chavan In Adarsh Scam As Court Rejects Trial Sanction


MUMBAI:  Ashok Chavan, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, will not be prosecuted in the Adarsh housing scam in Mumbai, the High Court said today, setting aside the governor's sanction to act against the Congress leader. This is the second setback in two days for the CBI, which was yesterday told by a special court that it had failed to prove the "2G scam".

Mr Chavan, 59, had to quit as chief minister in 2010 over charges that he brazenly flouted rules to help Adarsh Society in exchange for apartments.

Three flats were allocated to members of Mr Chavan's family in the building when he was Revenue Minister between 1999 and 2004.

The Adarsh Housing Society in Colaba, one of the most expensive areas of Mumbai, was on paper meant to house war veterans and widows - a category error according to the judge who studied the property, because the land belonged to the government and not the army.

Mr Chavan had challenged the decision of Governor C Vidyasagar Rao to allow the CBI to prosecute him. The sanction came in 2015, three years after the governor's predecessor had refused the request. At the time, the Congress was governing Maharashtra and the move was seen as a blatant attempt by a party-appointed governor to protect Mr Chavan.

Mr Vidyasagar Rao had based his decision on the advice of the council of ministers, who had relied on the report of a judicial commission that investigated the Adarsh scandal. Mr Chavan, currently a Congress parliamentarian from Nanded and also the party's chief in Maharashtra, had testified before the commission. His family had too.

The Adarsh building became one of the symbols of deep corruption associated with the Congress-led national coalition government of UPA. Months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept to power in 2014, Maharashtra chose his party, the BJP, to replace the Congress in the state election as well.

This is another reprieve for the Congress in a high-profile corruption case since yesterday.

A special CBI court on Thursday acquitted former telecom minister A Raja and all other accused in the "2G scam", saying that investigators had "failed miserably" in proving allegations of corruption in the grant of second generation or 2G licences in 2007-8 when the Congress-led Manmohan Singh government was in power, with A Raja as telecom minister. 

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