Mumbai, Sep 19 (PTI): The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday gave a clean chit to Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde in the Adarsh Housing Society scam.
The agency informed the Bombay High Court that there is no evidence to suggest that Shinde during his tenure as Maharashtra Chief Minister abused his position as a public servant.
This was stated by the probe agency in an affidavit filed by it in reply to an application submitted by social activist Pravin Wategaonkar seeking that Shinde be included as an accused in the case, as he allegedly owns benami flats in the plush 31-storey Adarsh building in south Mumbai.
”CBI does not feel it legally necessary to name Sushilkumar Shinde as an accused person in the ongoing investigation being carried out by it,” the affidavit states.
According to Wategaonkar's application, Shinde had suggested inclusion of late Major N W Khankhoje as a member of the Adarsh society.
Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, a former member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council, had deposed before the Adarsh commission that Shinde had asked for inclusion of Khankhoje as member.
”Khankhoje's membership may have been pursued by K L Gidwani but it cannot be confirmed as Gidwani has passed away. The CBI charge sheet states that civilian members in the society were included at the instance of Gidwani,” the affidavit reads.
”Investigation conducted by CBI does not reveal any family relationship between Khankhoje and Shinde. There is nothing on record to substantiate deposition made by Gidwani to the commission that Khankhoje was included by Sushilkumar Shinde,” the affidavit filed by K Babu, senior CBI official, states.
”There is no evidence coming to light during investigation to suggest that Shinde abused his position as public servant for the benefit of someone from Khankhoje family in connivance with the office bearers of Adarsh,” the affidavit states.
The affidavit further says that the agency does not see any merit in the allegations levelled against Shinde in the application.
Wategaonkar, in his application, had also stated that Shinde during his deposition before the commission had said that the Adarsh file had come to him for clearance.
After going through verification from the collector and officers of the revenue department, Shinde saw that only 20 of the 71 approved members were found eligible and had asked for a recheck on eligibility of the other 51 members.
According to Wategaonkar, this alleged act of Shinde insisting on 51 members to be rechecked/ substituted before possession of land to be given to Adarsh Society resulted in illegal benami transaction in respect of flats.
”There is nothing on record to suggest that Shinde had insisted on 51 more members by rechecking/substituting ineligible members before possession of land to be given to Adarsh society which resulted in addition of illegal benami members,” CBI said in its affidavit.
A division bench of Justices P V Hardas and P N Deshmukh on Thursday adjourned hearing in the case till September 26.
Meanwhile, another Public-Interest Litigation in the Bombay High Court sought a direction to the CBI to file a status report in the Adarsh Society scam.
The PIL also sought a direction to principal secretary of state Home department to file a status report on CBI's application seeking sanction to prosecute bureaucrats.
The PIL, filed by former scribe Ketan Tirodkar, said CBI had sought sanction to prosecute bureaucrats in Adarsh scam who were in service of Maharashtra government and others who were still in service.
However, Chief Secretary of the state has told media and the probing agency that there is no case to grant sanction as they have not done anything wrong. This Chief Secretary has now been granted extension after retirement as a reward for his clean-chit, the PIL alleged.
The petitioner also annexed some documents to show that some benami flats were allegedly purchased in Adarsh society.
A bench of justices P V Hardas and P N Deshmukh clubbed this PIL with Wategaonkar's petition and posted the matter for hearing on September 26 as both deal with the Adarsh society scam.