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Prosecution of Chavan rejected

Prosecution of Chavan rejected
Highlights

The Bombay High Court on Friday granted a huge relief to Congress leader Ashok Chavan by setting aside the sanction for his prosecution in the Adarsh...

Mumbai/New Delhi: The Bombay High Court on Friday granted a huge relief to Congress leader Ashok Chavan by setting aside the sanction for his prosecution in the Adarsh controversy by the Maharashtra Governor.

The order comes as vindication for Chavan, who had suffered the ignominy of having to step down as Chief Minister in November 2010 following allegations of his involvement.

On 4 February 2016, Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao had granted sanction to prosecute Chavan in the case for offences related to conspiracy and cheating.

The FIR filed by the CBI in the case states that Chavan, in his capacity as revenue minister of Maharashtra, "became a member of the criminal conspiracy with accused RC Thakur, Brig Madan Mohan Wanchu and Kanhaiyalal Gidwani and in pursuance to the same, he proposed to include the civilians as members in the (Ada­rsh housing) society with ulterior motive to make his relatives as members in the society." Thakur, Wanchu and Gidwani were promoters of the housing society.

Soon after the High Court set aside the prosecution sanction against him in Adarsh Housing Society scam, Chavan said “truth has ultimately prevailed”.

Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, Chavan said: “The truth has ultimately prevailed, we always had full faith in the country’s judiciary.” He alleged that the issue was politically used by the BJP around 2014 to “malign” the image of the Congress.

In the order, the court, however, held that “it was permissible for the Governor, the sanctioning authority, to review or reconsider the earlier decision of the erstwhile Governor not to grant sanction to prosecute the petitioner (Ashok Chavan) in terms of the fresh material which had surfaced after the earlier sanction was refused”.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Chavan challenging the Governor’s decision granting sanction to the CBI to prosecute him in the Adarsh Housing Society scam. The bench had made Rao a respondent in the matter.

The CBI has relied on the report submitted by a two-member judicial commission set up by the government to inquire into the Adarsh scam and an earlier order of the court.

“Neither the extract of Justice J A Patil Commission report nor the order passed by the single judge of the court are admissible as evidence and, therefore, it cannot be considered. In the absence of fresh material, the Governor has no jurisdiction to review the order of the erstwhile Governor,” said the court.

The court, meanwhile, added that the challenge by the petitioner to the order of the Governor can be entertained at pre-trial stage since the same passed without there being fresh material.

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