Mumbai: In an embarrassment for the opposition Congress in Maharashtra, the CBI could prosecute former chief minister Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh Society scam, officials said here on Thursday.
Chavan, 57, is the Congress Lok Sabha member from Nanded and also heads the party’s Maharashtra unit. His name had cropped up in the Adarsh Society scam forcing him to step down as chief minister in 2010.
In 2013, then governor K. Sankaranarayanan had rejected the Central Bureau of Investigation plea to prosecute him when the Congress-NCP government led by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan was in office.
However, citing grounds that it has unearthed ‘fresh evidence’, the CBI has again sought permission to prosecute Chavan.
The BJP-Shiv Sena government led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis last week recommended to Governor C.V. Rao to allow the CBI to prosecute Chavan.
Chavan, the son of former chief minister and union home minister S.B. Chavan, retaliated by terming it as a vendetta by the BJP-Shiv Sena government.
“It’s a political vendetta against me. The Congress is raising issues of public importance and highlighting the failures of the BJP-led governments both in the state and the Centre. That’s why they are targeting opposition leaders and misusing the CBI,” Chavan hit back.
He demanded to know that when the then governor had declined sanction after consulting the state solicitor general, on what grounds the state was now going ahead with the prosecution.
In the CBI charge sheet, Chavan was listed as an accused and a two-member Commission of Inquiry comprising Justice (retired) J.A. Patil of the Bombay High Court and former chief secretary P. Subramanian had accused Chavan of ‘political patronage’ and ‘quid pro quo’.
Following the rejection by the then governor, the CBI moved the Bombay High Court to drop Chavan’s name as an accused in the case.
Chavan and 12 others are accused of conspiracy, cheating and criminal misconduct in the infamous Adarsh Society scam — related to a 31-storey plush building in Colaba originally meant to house families of war heroes.
After the scam broke out in 2010, and the probe panel found many in the society ineligible to be members, the building was fully vacated a few years ago.