CBI gives clean chit to Shinde in Adarsh scam

CBI gives clean chit to Shinde in Adarsh scam

13 named in charge sheet, including Ashok Chavan

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday informed the Bombay High Court that it did not find any incriminating evidence against Union Home Minister and former Maharashtra chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde in the Adarsh scam.

The agency is probing the case where public officials allegedly cheated and misused power while trying to secure a flat in the controversial 32-storey skyscraper.

In response to a petition by social activist Pravin Wategaonkar seeking Shinde be made an accused, the investigating agency clarified, “There is no evidence coming to light during investigation to suggest that Sushilkumar Shinde abused his position as a public servant for the benefit of someone in connivance with the office-bearers of Adarsh Society.”

The CBI further stated that in light of the “facts and circumstances the respondent (CBI) do not feel it legally necessary to name Sushilkumar Shinde as an accused in the on-going investigation.”

Moreover, the investigating officer K Babu further stated in the affidavit that they did not find “any kind of relationship between Shinde and Khankhoje family” who had been named by the petitioner as the person whose name was included in Adarsh Housing Society list at the behest of the then chief minister Shinde.

The petitioner had based his allegations on the deposition made by former MLC Kanhaiyalal Gidwani before the Adarsh Commission wherein it was pointed out that Major Khankhoje’s name was included in the list at the behest of the then chief minister Shinde who held the post between 2001 and 03.

The allegation cannot be confirmed as Gidwani is dead. However, Wategaonkar in his petition has alleged that Shinde, before handing over the possession of land to Adarsh Society, insisted on ascertaining the suitability of a section of members which resulted in “benami” transaction.

So far, the CBI has named 13 people in its charge sheet, including former chief minister Ashok Chavan and retired army and government officials. Two other former chief ministers, Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh, were also under scanner for giving clearances in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone, but they were not made accused.

Incidentally, Shinde during his deposition before the commission last year stated that there was no scheme or plan envisaged to form a society or construct a building for war heroes or Kargil widows.