The Bombay High Court today sought Congress leader Ashok Chavan’s stand to the CBI’s submission that the governor cannot be made respondent to his plea against the sanction to try him in the Adarsh housing society scam. A division bench headed by Justice R V More gave this direction to Congress MP Chavan while hearing his plea against Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao’s decision to grant sanction to the CBI to prosecute him in the scam. Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the CBI, told the court today that the governor cannot be made a respondent personally in a petition.
“The petitioner (Chavan) will have to delete the Governor’s name as respondent. The state government will have to be impleaded as respondent,” Singh said. The court then directed Chavan’s counsel Amit Desai to reply to this argument by the CBI and posted the matter for further hearing on July 3. In February last year, Governor Rao had granted sanction to the CBI to prosecute Chavan for committing cheating and other corruption offences besides hatching criminal conspiracy.
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Chavan’s petition termed the governor’s order as “arbitrary, illegal and unjust” and passed without “proper application of mind” and with “malafide intentions. ” The CBI had accused Chavan of approving additional floor space index for Adarsh society in lieu of two flats for his relatives. He was also charged with illegally approving, as the then revenue minister, allotment of 40 per cent of the flats to civilians in the high rise in posh Colaba.
While the CBI named him as an accused in its FIR, in December 2013 the then Governor K Sankaranarayanan had refused permission to it to prosecute Chavan in the scam. The high court, however in March 2015, had dismissed a plea made by Chavan, a sitting Lok Sabha MP now from Nanded, for deletion of his name from the case, as the governor had refused to grant sanction. Following this, the CBI re-approached the Governor seeking sanction, which was granted in February 2016.