'Why has CBI not yet filed an FIR in Adarsh scam?'
Pulling up the Central Bureau of Investigation for the tardy pace of its probe in the Adarsh Society scam, the Bombay high court on Tuesday directed the investigating agency to expeditiously conclude the investigation and take a final decision on registration of a First Information Report within two weeks.
The court also ordered issuing of summons to the regional Joint Director of CBI to appear before it when the court next hears the case after two weeks.
"It has been more than two months since CBI has been conducting a preliminary inquiry into the case. Why have you (CBI) not registered FIR as yet?" a division bench of justices B H Marlapalle and U D Salvi asked.
The court was hearing a petition filed by activist Simpreet Singh, which said since both CBI and the state Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) were involved in the probe, it may create issues of jurisdiction "which might hamper the probe".
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Image: Adarsh housing society
'The agency does not want to take any hasty decision'
According to the petition, with three former chief ministers allegedly involved in the scam, the ACB may be under pressure not to effectively probe the case and hence the entire investigation should be handed over to CBI.
"We fail to understand why there is a delay in lodging of FIR. Media reports have virtually carried CBI's draft FIR and revealed all the accused's names," Justice Marlapalle said.
Additional Solicitor General Darius Khambata, appearing for CBI, sought four weeks to finish the probe, saying, "It is a sensitive case involving big names. The agency does not want to take any hasty decision."
The 31-storey Society in posh Colaba, south Mumbai, was allegedly built on a plot reserved for Kargil martyrs and flats were allotted to kin of bureaucrats and politicians.
The alleged irregularities surfaced a few months ago and the then Chief Minister Ashok Chavan had to resign over the scam.
Court summons CBI Joint Director
The court refused to grant more than two weeks to the agency and ordered the regional Joint Director of CBI to appear before it.
Meanwhile, the state Home Department, in its affidavit said there is no merit in the petitioner's contention casting doubts about the ACB's ability to probe the case.
The CBI had registered a Preliminary Enquiry on November 15 last year after Defence Minister A K Antony announced a CBI probe into the scam, which involves some senior Defence and state government officials and politicians.
Two former army chiefs Gen Deepak Kapoor and Gen N C Vij and ex-navy chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh own flats in the scam-hit society.
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 is alleged to have got various clearances from authorities through dubious means.