The Maharashtra governor, K Sankaranarayanan turned down the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) request for sanction to prosecute former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh Society scam for want of evidence, documents accessed under a RTI filed by former Chief Information Commissioner, Mr. Shailesh Gandhi has revealed.
In his reply dated on 17th December, 2013 to the agency, the Governor states that he did not even find that CBI had a prima facie case against Mr. Chavan.
“I do not find that even a prima facie case is made out and hence the request of the CBI for sanction to prosecute under section 197 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is liable to be rejected and therefore I am hereby constrained to refuse the same,” the reply states.
In his 13 page reply, the Governor has cited various grounds for turning down the request to prosecute the Congress leader.
On the CBI’s first charge of quid-pro-quo against Mr. Chavan, the Governor’s order states, “I have not found any nexus in the documents produced before me to even prima-facie appear that this grant of membership was a gratification or a quid pro quo for whatever actions were taken by Mr. Chavan. No document or oral evidence of any witness contains any evidence whatsoever to even prima- facie show that there is a nexus or even so that the proposal of quid pro quo was the brain child of Mr. Chavan. It may also be noted that at the time of approval of membership Mr. Chavan was not the Revenue Minister nor was he the Chief Minister.”
On CBI’s second count, that Mr. Chavan was instrumental in grating additional Floor Space Index (FSI) to Adarsh society, the Governor’s reply states, “The CBI’s report state that there is no evidence that the decision of non-deduction of 15 percent RG from FSI computation was illegal. This position taken by the CBI itself coupled with the fact that there appear on record several correspondences in this regard, but none of them having any nexus or link with Mr. Chavan.”
While the order acknowledges the CBI claim that the note for granting the additional FSI prepared by the Urban Development Department (UDD) was accepted by Mr. Chavan but it states that there is no evidence to conclude him guilty. “In my view the material is inadequate to even prima-facie reach any conclusion as to the guilt of Mr. Chavan as alleged by the CBI or even otherwise. I have not found any other material which would disclose the existence of even a prima facie case against Mr. Chavan on this second count,” the reply reads.
The Governor had sought the advice of the Attorney General of India and the Solicitor General. However, the Attorney General in his reply dated 19th November, 2013 returned the file on the ground that he had already advised CBI on the same matter and it would be inappropriate for him to offer an opinion to the Governor on the same.
“The CBI had through the DoPT and the Ministry of Law, had also sought his opinion with regard to the necessity for obtaining sanction in relation to prosecution of Shri Ashok Chavan and he has already rendered an opinion on his behalf. As such, it will not be proper or appropriate for him to give any opinion in this behalf,” the reply stated. The Governor had then sought the opinion of the Solicitor General.
On the issue of the Governor seeking advice from the Council of Minister, his reply states that it was highly unlikely to get an unbiased opinion from the Council of Ministers “It seems to me to be highly unlikely that the Council of Ministers would render an unbiased aid and advice in this regards as the same set of Council of Minister (individuals) still continue at the helm of affairs today,” the order reads.
On the same question even the Solicitor General, Mr. Mohan Parasaran had opined, “The dynamics involved in the present case are such that Mr. Ashok Chavan who was the Chief Minister has been now succeeded by Mr. Prithviraj Chavan who also belongs to the same ruling party in power as Mr. Ashok Chavan originally was and the very same MLAs who were elected along with when Mr. Ashok Chavan continue to be Ministers and MLAs. Thus in the facts and circumstances of the present case in my view there would be an element of bias if the aid and advice of the Cabinet is sought. The Governor should examine the question as to the grant of sanction based on his discretion after duly satisfying himself that there is a prima facie case made out against Mr. Chavan”.