Governor of Maharashtra CH Vidyasagar Rao on Thursday authorised the Central Bureau of Investigation to prosecute former state chief minister Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh Housing Society scam. The CBI had sought the governor’s sanction to prosecute Chavan after getting fresh evidence against him in the case. Rao had then written to current Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis seeking the opinion of his state cabinet.
Chavan claimed that it was illegal for the CBI to have re-applied to the governor. “I'll react in detail after consulting my legal advisors,” he said. Last week, he had alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party was pressuring the CBI to implicate him in the case. “BJP's attempt is to ensure that there is no fair investigation in the case. This is a case of political vendetta going on in the country by some BJP leaders. Be it Oommen Chandy or Digvijay Singh, BJP wants to target Congress leaders,” he had said.
The CBI had named Chavan and 12 others in the chargesheet. The agency had alleged that in order to secure flats for his relatives in the housing complex in South Mumbai’s Colaba neighbourhood, the former chief minister had suggested including civilian members in the Adarsh Housing Society, which is meant for war veterans and widows of defence personnel. The investigative agency had to close the case against Chavan in 2013 as the then governor Sankaranarayanan had refused to authorise the prosecution. Under India's criminal procedure code, the governor is required to sanction the prosecution of a public servant, a law put in place to prevent frivolous cases.