Adarsh case: CBI strikes SC to press for ex-CM‘s prosecution

MUMBAI: The has moved the to challenge the quashing of a sanction to prosecute former chief minister for cheating and criminal conspiracy in the Adarsh housing society case. Four months after the Bombay high court held a 2016 sanction to be legally unsustainable, the SC bench of Justice and Justice is set to hear the special leave petition on Monday.
The SC will decide Chavan‘s fate in the case where there are 13 accused and the trial is yet to begin.

In April 2016, governor had reversed a 2013 refusal by his predecessor to sanction prosecution. The sanction, required to criminally prosecute a public servant was first refused by the previous governor K Sankarnarayanan.

Chavan had stepped down as CM in the wake of the Adarsh controversy over irregularities in construction of a 31-storey tower in south Mumbai and alleged quid pro quo in allotments of flats to families of politicians and bureaucrats.

Chavan was charged under the Indian Penal Code for conspiracy, cheating and for ‘criminal misconduct‘ under the Prevention of Corruption Act for letting civilians come into the proposed society originally meant for defence personnel.

Chavan said the sanction reversal was a “political move” by the BJP-led government. The HC bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Sadhana Jadhav had last December held that while a governor could review an earlier order of sanction or lack of it, it had to be done on new matter that would be admissible as evidence.

The ‘new matter‘ in the 2016 sanction order were findings of a two-member judicial commission and observations from a 2014 HC order, neither of which have evidentiary value, the HC held.

The HC had said, “neither the extract of Justice J A Patil Commission report-which said that Adarsh files were cleared by way of quid pro quo by Chavan-nor the November 19, 2014 order passed by a Bombay HC judge are admissible evidence and hence cannot be considered.‘‘

“In the absence of fresh material, the governor has no jurisdiction to review the order of the erstwhile governor,‘‘ the HC had held. The CBI is questioning the validity of this finding and wants permission appeal. CBI stand is the validity of the sanction cannot be tested before trial and also that the new material produced before the governor in 2016 was adequate for a sanction.

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