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High Court bench recuses itself from hearing petition in Adarsh Housing Society scam case

A Bombay High Court bench today recused itself from hearing a petition seeking direction to CBI to produce entire evidence during its investigation into the Adarsh Housing Society scam on the basis of which it had given a clean chit to former Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

“Not before us” said a Division bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode when the petition filed by activist Praveen Wategaonkar came up before them. This petition was tagged on to another petition which had sought to make Shinde as an accused in the Adarsh housing scam case. The High Court bench has recused itself from both these petitions.

Wategaonkar had in July 2013 filed the petition seeking to make Shinde as an accused. However, in its reply on October 9, 2013, the CBI gave a clean chit to Shinde saying they had probed the case and found evidence against the former Union Home Minister as “deficient and insufficient.”

The petitioner said the Adarsh Commission, in its report tabled before the Maharashtra Legislature, had observed that Shinde, in his capacity as chief minister, had failed to pay attention to a suggestion given by the finance department against allotment of land to the Adarsh housing society. The petitioner further said that Adarsh Commission report had also concluded that “Shinde had failed to note this and acted in undue haste to bestow benefit on the society.”

Maharashtra government had on June 9, 2011, appointed a two-member judicial commission, led by a retired Bombay High Court judge J A Patil, with former state chief secretary P Subramanian being the member, to investigate the alleged irregularities and corruption.

Seeking the court’s direction to CBI to produce all evidence it had gathered, Wategaonkar argued that though the CBI did not find any evidence against Shinde, the Adarsh panel has stated that Shinde had failed to act in Adarsh case.

CBI had stated in its affidavit filed before the High Court in 2013 that there is no evidence to suggest that Shinde, during his tenure as Maharashtra Chief Minister, had abused his position as a public servant.

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