MoD: CBI has clear jurisdiction to probe case

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SummaryThe Ministry of Defence told the Bombay High Court that the state government’s “belated” contention that the CBI had no jurisdiction to investigate the Adarsh society scam.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that the state government’s “belated” contention that the CBI had no jurisdiction to investigate the Adarsh society scam, if accepted, would defeat various orders passed in the case by different HC Benches.

The MoD also stated that the finding in the report of the state government-appointed judicial commission that the title of the land on which the contentious highrise stands belonged to the state government hasn’t been accepted by it. The ministry contended that an inquiry panel does not have the power to determine the owner of the title of the land.

An affidavit filed by Major General Deepak Saxena, Chief of Staff (Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa area), Indian Army, states: “...the belated attempt to scuttle the probe almost completed by the CBI is illegal and with mala fide intention”.

Annexing a number of orders passed by the HC in a group of PILs filed in relation to the scam, Saxena said: “If the stand now sought to be taken by the state of Maharashtra and the Adarsh CHS were to be taken cognisance of, it would mean that the various orders passed by the Division Benches of this honourable court would be set aside.”

Days before the CBI filed its chargesheet, the state and Adarsh society had contended that the agency did not have the jurisdiction to investigate the alleged scam as the state had made no request to them nor had there been a court direction for the CBI to take over the probe. An affidavit dated June 29 filed by Ruprao Deshmukh, Joint Secretary, Home Department, stated: “...the state of Maharashtra has not made any request under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, to the CBI.”

Stating that the CBI had “clear jurisdiction” to investigate the case, Saxena said of the 14 accused named in the CBI’s FIR of January 29, 2011, only six — former CM Ashok Chavan, suspended Congress MLC K L Gidwani, bureaucrats Ramanand Tiwari, P V Deshmukh, Subhash Lala and Pradeep Vyas — are not employees of the Centre.

The Centre, the affidavit

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