Chavan for amending laws protecting IAS officers

"The IAS officials are protected by article 311 of the Constitution and it is difficult to take immediate action against them. Therefore some amendments need to be done in the article," Chavan told the legislative Council while replying to a discussion on Adarsh society.

The state government has taken action against two officials who were not protected by the Constitution, Chavan said. On progress of the probe, Chavan said prima facie, 21 officials are connected with the case for either taking some decision about the society or owning a flat in the building.

"The CBI has named 14 accused of which seven are defence officials, two people's representatives, one a Central government official and one a retired state official," Chavan said.

The chief minister said that a two-member commission appointed to enquire into irregularities in controversial Adarsh housing society may take more time to submit its final findings.

"The commission appointed on January 8 had three months' time to complete the probe. However, it seems that the commission would take more time, Chavan told the Council while replying to a discussion on Adarsh society.

The state government, under the Commission of Enquiry Act, appointed a two-member commission comprising of retired Bombay HC judge J A Patil and former Maharashtra chief secretary P Subramhaniam. The chief minister refuted all the allegations by the Opposition members that the Commission is not provided with any office and salary.

"The Commission has been provided with an office in the Old Customs House and also a court room as demanded by them apart from an ex gratia of Rs 1.60 lakh and a provision of Rs 65 lakh being made for it," Chavan said. Replying to the charges of "moral turpitude" levelled by the Opposition, the chief minister said that no one should give lessons to Congress on the issue of morality.

"Congress party's four chief ministers resigned on the grounds of morality. The courts of law had not even passed strictures against some of them. The party has legacy of morality and no one should teach us that," Chavan said.

Chavan said CBI kept former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee on the list of the accused besides naming leaders like Lal Krishna Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi in various cases. One cannot be termed as culprit merely because the CBI has named him but it has to be proved in court, he said.

The chief minister said that his statement in Nanded 'backing' Congress party workers and MLAs, including former chief minister Ashok Chavan, who is an accused in the Adarsh Housing Society scam, would not affect the CBI probe.

"The Congress MLAs brought to my notice pending works in their respective constituencies and I promised to help them out. How could this statement affect the CBI probe," Chavan said.

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