NEW DELHI -- The Central Bureau of Investigation will prosecute Congress Party leader Ashok Chavan for the offenses of cheating and conspiracy in the Adarsh Scam, which forced him to resign as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra in 2010.
On Thursday, Maharashtra Governor C.H. Vidyasagar Rao, who was appointed by the Bharatiya Janata Party Central government in August 2014, gave the CBI sanction to prosecute Chavan.
The CBI can now prosecute him under section 197 of CrPC, for offenses under sections 120-B (conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of IPC in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society case.
The Adarsh Housing Society, a 31-storey building, which came up in the prime real estate area of Colaba, Mumbai, was originally supposed to be a six-storey structure to house war widows and heroes of the 1999 Kargil War.
The scam revolved around politicians, bureaucrats and military officials flouting rules to acquire flats below market rates. Chavan's own relatives were allottees in the building.
In December 2013, when the Congress Party was in power, Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan did not grant sanction to prosecute Chavan. The UPA-appointed governor resigned after he was transferred to Mizoram by the Modi government in August, 2014.
The Centre then appointed Rao, a senior BJP leader from Telangana, who had served as Union Minister of State for Home in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. The BJP and Shiv Sena also came to power in Maharashtra in Dec. 2014.
Besides the flouting of rules, which the public regards as routine, the most disturbing aspect of the Adarsh Scam was how ministers, politicians, top army officials and bureaucrats were making a beeline to get flats in a building mean for war widows.
Some of the prominent names included Union Minister Suresh Prabhu, Former Army Chiefs Deepak Kapoor and N.C. Vij, Sanjoy Sankaran, son of former chief secretary D.K. Sankaran, diplomat Devyani Khobragade, and Congress Party leader Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, who died in 2012, and his two sons.
Chavan is the head of the Congress Party in Maharashtra, which described the Adarsh Scam as a "myth" on Thursday.