‘It has not hesitated in including the name of a former Chief Minister'
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday expressed satisfaction with the work of the Central Bureau of Investigation on the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam. After the CBI submitted a progress report on the investigation, it said, “We think the investigating agency is on the right track.”
The court was hearing a public interest litigation petition seeking action against the former Chief Ministers, Sushil Kumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh, in the Adarsh matter. “The investigating agency has not hesitated in including the name of a former Chief Minister. They are doing their duty. They need time,” a Division Bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and Rajesh Ketkar said.
Y.P. Singh, counsel for petitioner Simpreet Singh, submitted before the court that the FIR filed by the CBI did not mention “powerful” politicians such as Mr. Shinde and Mr. Deshmukh. “Ironically, they aren't mentioned in the FIR. Only small people have been named accused,” he said.
The court said the CBI should be given more time to investigate the matter. The missing papers probe, which was handed over to the CBI a few days ago, was “rather serious,” it observed.
During the hearing of another Adarsh-related case, the CBI told the court that it had amended the FIR to include provisions of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, as suggested by a previous Bench.
The CBI was investigating the “benami transactions” made by the members of the Society for gaining flats there. “We have found that Kanhaiyalal Gidwani has three benami flats in the Society,” Additional Solicitor-General Darius Khambatta said.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the Society, requesting de-freezing of its bank accounts — which were frozen by the CBI, pending the investigation of the benami transactions.
The Society pleaded that it was unable to pay the legal expenses as the accounts were frozen. It said its fundamental right to legal aid was impinged upon as a result. The CBI had not followed all the rules, it alleged and requested that its legal representatives be allowed access to the accounts.
The CBI argued that since investigations into the “benami transactions” were on, de-freezing of the accounts might put evidence at the risk of being tampered with. “We are already investigating the source of funds. We are finding enough evidence of benami transactions. It is a subject matter of enquiry.” Mr. Khambatta said.The court refused to interfere in the investigation. The case will be heard on March 25.