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No new findings in proxy flat probe in Adarsh society: HC

The CBI has informed the Bombay High Court that further probe into alleged proxy flats in the scam-tainted Adarsh Housing Society has not revealed any fresh findings and its investigation into the case is over.

The agency last week informed a division bench of Justices R V More and Sadhana Jadhav that it has submitted a report in a sealed cover to another bench of the HC.

The division bench, headed by Justices More, is hearing a petition filed by Congress leader Ashok Chavan challenging the governor’s decision granting the CBI nod to prosecute him in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam.

In October last, the HC had asked the CBI to conduct further probe into alleged `benami (proxy) flats in the Adarsh building even as the Central agency said it has already completed its probe in the scam and submitted charge sheet two years ago.

The order was passed on a PIL filed by activist Pravin Wategaonkar alleging that senior bureaucrats and politicians held benami flats in the south Mumbai high rise, which was a quid-pro-quo for clearing files related to the housing society in violation of several norms.

Last week, Chavan’s counsel Amit Desai, while claiming the CBI was only acting at the behest of the BJP-led government, told the division bench that it has been a year since the HC ordered the agency to carry out further probe in the case but till date no report in the form of supplementary chargesheet has been filed in the lower court.

To this, CBI counsel Hiten Venegaonkar told the HC that further probe was conducted and a report in a sealed cover submitted to the bench hearing the PIL.

“A supplementary chargesheet under section 173 (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code is filed if any fresh material is found. Our report says there is nothing more to probe in the case and that our investigation is complete,” Venegaonkar said.

Wategaonkar’s petition is likely to come up for hearing in November.

The agency had filed a first information report (FIR) on January 29, 2011, in which it named 14 accused, including Chavan, a former Maharashtra chief minister. The other accused included top bureaucrats and retired army officials, among others. The agency filed its first charge sheet in July 2012.

The Central agency had later filed a supplementary charge sheet in the case revealing details of benami flats in the 31-storey building.

The HC, in its October order directing the CBI to conduct further probe, had expressed dissatisfaction with the two reports submitted by the agency giving out details on what their probe has revealed.

“From the two reports submitted earlier (by the CBI) we find that there has been no application of mind by the investigating officer of the CBI. It is suffice to say we are not satisfied with the manner in which investigation has been carried out,” the court had observed.

The CBI had accused Chavan, a Lok Sabha MP now, of approving additional construction rights in the Adarsh society in return of two flats for his relatives. The Congress leader was also charged with illegally approving, as the then revenue minister, allotment of 40 per cent of the flats to civilians.

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