A day after registering a case in the Adarsh housing society scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Sunday carried out searches at various premises in Maharashtra and Bihar that belong to the three main accused named in the FIR.
The searches were conducted at the residences and other places of the society's general secretary R C Thakur, retired Brigadier M M Wanchoo and Congress leader K L Gidwani in various parts of Maharashtra and Bihar. The office of the Adarsh society located in posh Colaba at Mumbai was among the places raided. The raids come a day after the CBI filed an FIR naming 13 people, including former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan and some retired senior army officials.
"Searches are being conducted at Thakur's residences in Bihar, Nagpur and Thane, Wanchoo's house in Pune and Gidwani's house in Mumbai. Searches are also being conducted at the office of Adarsh society," a senior CBI official said.
According to CBI sources, Thakur, Wanchoo and Gidwani were allegedly the prime movers in building the society. All the three are accused of usurping land not belonging to them and illegally grabbing it, the sources said. Thakur was the then sub-divisional officer at the Defence Estate Office of Mumbai while Gidwani, a former Congress member of Legislative Assembly, was the chief promoter of the society.
Apart from Chavan and the trio, the FIR also names retired Lieutenant General P K Rampal, Major Generals A R Kumar and T K Kaul, the then principal secretary (Urban Development) Ramanand Tiwari, who was recently suspended by Maharashtra government as information commissioner, Subash Lala, the then principal secretary to the chief minister and Brigadier (retired) R C Sharma.
The FIR has been filed under various sections of IPC including criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and showing forged document as genuine, besides sections pertaining to Prevention of Corruption Act.
Chavan, who had to quit as chief minister last year after it was found that his family members also owned flats in the society, served as the revenue minister between 2001 and 2003. He had dealt with files pertaining to the ownership of the land.
He is alleged to have recommended 40 per cent allotment of flats to civilians in the society, which was meant for war widows and heroes of Kargil war, the sources said.
The FIR also named Pradeep Vyas, the then collector of Mumbai. who is alleged to have ratified 71 persons in the society of which several were ineligible members. His wife Seema Vyas allegedly had a flat in the society. The agency had registered a preliminary enquiry into the scam in November last year.
Two former army chiefs -- General Deepak Kapoor and General N C Vij -- and ex-navy chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh owned flats in the scam-hit society building. However, the former top chiefs have claimed that they have now surrendered the flats.
The Union ministry of environment and forests had on January 16 ordered demolition of the building within three months, holding it as 'unauthorised' and built in violation of the spirit of coastal regulations.
Apart from violating the CRZ norms, the society allegedly got clearances from various authorities through dubious means.
The building was originally meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil war heroes and their kin but was later extended to 31 floors without the mandatory permission.