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Adarsh society challenges CBI jurisdiction

Even as the Central Bureau of Investigation told the Bombay High Court that it would file a charge sheet in the Adarsh matter within the next 10 days, the housing society complained that the agency was probing the case without proper permission or jurisdiction.

A Division Bench directed the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society and the Maharashtra government to file an affidavit on their say within two weeks.

(While the land was meant for defence personnel housing, top politicians, bureaucrats and military officers allegedly bent rules and got flats allotted to themselves in this premier property in Mumbai.)

“It isn't clear how the CBI is in the picture. In a matter like this, they shouldn't be here. There is no such order by the State government and the entire jurisdiction of the CBI is without the authority of law,” Shekhar Nafde, counsel for the Adarsh society, told the court on Monday.

CBI to probe

A Maharashtra government-appointed judicial commission came out with the finding that the State owned the land. “It has been legally allotted by us to the society. The CBI came because it presumed that it is Central government land,” State representative Anil Sakhre told the court. He said the State had made no request to the CBI to take over the probe.

Reading out Sections of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, Mr. Nafde said: “The CBI's jurisdiction is related only to the Union government… Is there any allegation in the petition that the Maharashtra police have failed to investigate the matter? Innocent people are getting involved. The CBI is under pressure.”

The agency did not follow proper procedure before starting the probe.

Investigating the case

At this, Justice S.A. Bobde said: “Is it that the State's consent hasn't been taken? Has the State government said it does not want the CBI to investigate the case? Somebody should allege before the court that there is no consent.”

The Bench, which included Justice Mridula Bhatkar, however, declined to entertain the plea of seven accused persons that the court direct the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax (Investigation) department to stop their probe.

Plea declined

Their advocate, I.A. Bagaria, said there were technical problems in the case registered by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

But the court declined to interfere. “We haven't directed that the PMLA applies. We are not going to direct that the PMLA doesn't apply,” Justice Bobde said.

The petitioner, who had filed a Public Interest Litigation petition, said the society and the State were trying to mislead the court and that Justice Marlapalle had directed the CBI in 2011 to file a First Information Report in the case.

The court will hear the matter next on July 4.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 5:44:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/adarsh-society-challenges-cbi-jurisdiction/article3542589.ece

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