The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday arrested a senior IAS officer in the Adarsh Housing Society scam. Pradeep Vyas is Secretary (Expenditure) of the Finance Department of the Maharashtra government. He is the first serving bureaucrat to be arrested in the case.
Mr. Vyas, who was the then Collector of Mumbai, has been accused of conniving with other accused and “accepting false documents as proof of income submitted by the members.”
He has also been accused of allowing the members to amend their earlier-shown income and of accepting the membership of those who were not eligible to become members. In return, his wife Seema Vyas, also an IAS officer, was given membership of the society, the CBI said in its first information report filed more than a year ago.
In an affidavit filed last year, Mr. Vyas told the Adarsh judicial commission that there was no quid pro quo in his wife getting the society membership. He was the Collector of Mumbai from August 28, 2000 to May 16, 2005.
Mr. Vyas had said that only 71 persons were granted membership of the society during his tenure and that all of them, including the membership of his wife, were granted by the State government. “No membership was granted or approved at my level as Collector during this period,” he had said in the affidavit.
Mr. Vyas was called to the CBI office and then arrested, CBI officials said.
The investigating agency also arrested three other persons on Wednesday — Major General (retired) A.R. Kumar, Major General (retired) T.K. Kaul and the former member of the Legislative Council, Kanhaiyalal Gidwani.
Mr. Gidwani, who was arrested by the CBI 10 days ago in an Adarsh-related bribery case, was released from the Arthur Road jail on bail around 12.30 p.m. on Wednesday and was soon taken away by the CBI for interrogation, sources close to Mr. Gidwani told The Hindu.
Mr. Gidwani has been accused of joining the conspiracy “with the motive to exercise his personal influence with the public servants in the Government of Maharashtra and offer them membership for showing favour to the society.”
Held in Hyderabad
Major General Kumar, the then General Officer Commanding of Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat, was formally arrested in Hyderabad, a highly placed CBI official told The Hindu. Mr. Kumar was produced in the Hyderabad court on Wednesday. The Hyderabad court issued a transit remand. “He will be produced in the court here tomorrow [on Thursday],” the official said.
Major General Kumar has been accused of abusing his official position, and dishonestly and fraudulently issuing “a purported NoC [No-Objection Certificate] to the Collector, Mumbai, for the development of the plot” where the Adarsh building was constructed.
Major General Kaul has been accused of furnishing false information and misrepresenting the facts before Parliament.
The CBI has alleged that he failed to protect the interest of the Army and “deliberately” did not take action on the request letter of the then Defence Estate Officer for revoking the NoC granted to the society. He was given membership of the society.