Mumbai, March 16 (IANS) Observing that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is on the right track in probing the Adarsh Housing Society scam, the Bombay High Court Wednesday expressed satisfaction at the progress report submitted by the agency.
The CBI, in its progress report, claimed to have discovered fake transactions by influential members of the housing society.
A division bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and Rajesh Ketkar said: “Some time should be given to the agency to conduct a further probe, including the missing files case which is also a serious offence.”
While hearing a petition filed by the Adarsh Society seeking to de-freeze its bank account, the court asked the CBI if the society could be given concession of Rs.32,00,000, which it had incurred to pay several dues.
The CBI submitted that the accounts were seized so that the “benami” (proxy) transactions could be verified.
Justice Desai said that the court cannot ask the CBI to de-freeze the account and that it (CBI) should be given a free hand to investigate.
The society, in its petition, claimed that the amount has not been paid as its accounts have been seized and the bank account frozen.
The court directed the society to file by March 25 an affidavit listing its dues.
“We can, however, ask the CBI to consider giving some concession regarding the Society’s pending dues,” Justice Desai said.
The CBI had Jan 29 registered a case against 14 people, including former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, retired army officers and state government officials on charges of criminal conspiracy, fraud and misuse of official powers.
Later, the agency amended its first information report and included provisions of the Benami Transaction Act as directed by the Bombay High Court.
In another petition filed by activist Simpreet Singh, advocate Y.P. Singh told the court that the CBI has not taken any steps against union ministers and former Maharashtra chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushil Kumar Shinde.
“All small people have been named as accused in the case by the CBI. The main players like Deshmukh and Shinde have been shielded,” Singh argued.
The court, however, said the CBI has not hesitated in naming Ashok Chavan in the FIR.
The Bombay High Court had Jan 18 rapped the CBI for the slow pace of its probe into the Adarsh Society scam, following which the agency had filed an FIR in the case.
The building in Mumbai’s plush Colaba locality was originally meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil war heroes and their kin but was later extended to 31 floors allegedly without mandatory permissions.
Among other things, the society was accused of usurping a prime plot of defence land, violating floor space index rules, coastal regulation zone norms and other regulations.