Adarsh: Panel rejects soc members counsel plea

The judicial commission set up to inquire into the Adarsh scam rejected an application challenging the appointment of witnesses by the counsel.

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.


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