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Defence ministry defends CBI probe in Adarsh scam

July 18, 2012 17:50 IST
Terming Maharashtra government's objection to a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the Adarsh scam as "illegal and malafide", the defence ministry on Wednesday rejected the ruling by a state-appointed judicial panel that the land on which the controversial building stands belongs to the state.

In an affidavit filed in the Bombay high court, the ministry made it clear that it has not accepted the judicial commission's ruling settling the ownership of the plot in favour of the state government, dubbing it as "completely flawed".

"Dispute over the ownership of the land is not yet over. The Commission's report is not binding on either the government or the court. The Ministry of Defence has not accepted the report. The report of the Commission is completely flawed, contrary to the evidence on record and is made on patently incorrect interpretation of law," the defence ministry said in an affidavit filed before a division bench of Justices S A Bobade and Mridula Bhatkar.

The Maharashtra government and Adarsh Society have contested the CBI's jurisdiction to probe the alleged scam on the ground that neither the state nor the high court had handed over the investigation to the central agency, as required under the law.

The CBI launched its probe into the scam on the direction of the defence ministry after an inquiry by the army chief. It formally registered an FIR in January last year.

At the last hearing, the court had allowed the defence ministry to intervene in the PILs relating to the case and asked it to file its response to Maharashtra government's stand that the CBI cannot probe it. Accordingly, the ministry filed its affidavit on Wednesday.

The defence ministry's affidavit said, "The state government since last year has not taken any objection to the CBI probe in the matter. The high court on several hearings since a year has rapped the CBI for its slow probe and directed it to carry on investigations."

"The CBI has also filed reports before the court. The government on all these occasions did not raise objection," it said.

The ministry further claimed that it has the biggest stake in the matter and has suffered huge loss as a result of the "fraudulent and illegal" transfer of the land by the state government.

In its affidavit filed last month, the Maharashtra government and Adarsh society had said that the CBI had no jurisdiction to probe the matter, as the inquiry commission led by retired high court judge J A Patil had ruled that the land where the 31-storey building stands belongs to the state.

The state's affidavit also said it had not consented for a CBI probe. "The judicial commission set up to probe the alleged scam has submitted that the land belongs to the state government and hence local police has jurisdiction to probe the matter," it said.

The bench on Wednesday directed the Adarsh society to file its response to ministry's application by August 3.

The court is hearing a batch of public interest litigations filed by social activists Simpreet Singh and Pravin Wategaonkar seeking monitoring of the investigation in the case by the high court and invoking provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against society members.

 

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