Adarsh: Panel rejects soc members counsel plea
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Last Updated: Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 00:45
Mumbai: The judicial commission set up to inquire into the Adarsh Housing Society scam on Tuesday rejected an application challenging the appointment and cross-examination of witnesses by the counsel of the Maharashtra government- appointed panel.

The plea, filed by the controversial society in posh Colaba and its members, had stated the Commission of Inquiry Act does not contemplate appointment of a commission counsel for the purpose of conducting cross-examination of witnesses.

"The Commission's counsel, Dipan Merchant, does not have any right, power or authority or locus to cross examine persons who have filed affidavits pursuant to summons received from the Commission," said Manish Desai and Saket Mone, the advocates representing the housing society.

The objection was raised by the society and its members - R C Thakur, Brigadier (retd) M M Wanchu and Major General (retd) AR Kumar - who contended that as per Section 8 of the Act only the government, or any person whose conduct the Commission has considered necessary to inquire into, has a right to cross-examine other witnesses.

"At the most, the Commission counsel can assist the Commission members to understand the facts of the case. He cannot cross-examine witnesses," the lawyers argued.

The two-member Commission, headed by former Justice J A Patil of Bombay High Court, however, refused to accept the arguments and rejected the application.

The society has been under lens for allegedly flouting norms and conditions of various local, state and central government departments. Top politicians, bureaucrats and retired defence officials are accused of cornering the prime flats in the 31-storeyed building.


First Published: Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 00:45

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