Adarsh: HC sets aside order on Gidwani`s custody

Last Updated: Friday, March 30, 2012 - 15:48

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today quashed
a lower court order refusing to remand former Congress MLC and
a prime accused in the Adarsh Housing scam Kanhaiyalal Gidwani
in the custody of CBI.

Allowing an application filed by CBI challenging the
March 26 order of the special CBI court remanding Gidwani in
judicial custody, Justice R C Chavan directed the lower court
to decide afresh the agency`s request for further custody.

The special court had refused to extend Gidwani`s CBI
custody after accepting the defence lawyer`s argument that
the accused was already in its custody for ten days in a
bribery case related to the Adarsh scam.

Gidwani, his son and two lawyers, including CBI`s special
public prosecutor Mandar Goswami, were arrested in the bribery
case in the first week of March and released on bail after
being in the custody of the central agency for 10 days. They
were alleged to have entered into a criminal conspiracy to
have the charges against Gidwani in the Adarsh scam diluted.
Soon after he came out of jail, Gidwani was arrested again in
the Adarsh scam case.

After being denied Gidwani`s custody by the CBI court in
the Adarsh case, the agency moved the high court contending
that it could seek the custody of an accused up to 15 days.

"Gidwani was earlier in CBI custody for ten days in
another case. Later he was in custody for four days in the
Adarsh scam. Both are different offences and two separate
FIRs have been lodged," CBI counsel Ejaz Khan argued.

Accepting his argument, Justice Chavan said, "The lower
court has overlooked the distinction between the two cases.
They are separate and distinct offences."

Noting that Gidwani was arrested in the Adarsh case only
on March 21 and his 15-day police custody was not over, the
High Court directed the special court to decide CBI`s
application for further custody on merit.

Justice Chavan, however, raised a query as to why CBI
had arrested the accused in the Adarsh fraud more than a year
after registering the FIR.

"The case was registered in January last year and
accused have been arrested in March this year. After one year
what evidence you (CBI) got that arrests were made? Or was it
because of bashing from another bench of this court for
inaction?" Justice Chavan asked.

According to CBI, Gidwani was the chief promoter of the
plush Adarsh society in south Mumbai and was instrumental in
securing crucial clearances from different government
departments.

While Gidwani owns three flats in the 31-storey
building, he is alleged to have made payment for four benami
flats. "Of these four flats, two were reserved in proxy to
oblige influential state government officials who dealt with
the concerned file during the relevant period," CBI had told
the designated court.

PTI



First Published: Friday, March 30, 2012 - 15:48

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