Mumbai: Severely castigating CBI and ED
for their handling of the Adarsh scam probe, the Bombay High
Court today warned it may have to constitute a special team to
investigate it if progress was tardy and summoned the director
of the anti-money laundering agency on March 12.
The court was particularly unhappy with Enforcement
Directorate for its failure to initiate a probe against
members of the scam-tainted Adarsh Housing Society for money
laundering, terming it as a "serious lapse".
"It is unfortunate that ED has remained a mute
spectator. There is a serious lapse on the agency`s part for
not probing into money laundering offence. ED has not moved an
inch. It reflects a sorry state of affairs," a division bench
of Justices P B Majmudar and R D Dhanuka observed.
"Why are you depending on the CBI ? You are a
separate agency and can conduct probe independently," Justice
Majmudar said when informed by ED lawyer that the agency had
not begun its probe as CBI investigation was on.
"We are summoning the director as there has been no
assistance from his department to the court," Justice Majmudar
The bench also raised concerns over the tardy probe by
CBI which has been investigating the case since January last
year. "Why have you not finished the investigation till now?
It is a matter where many big names are concerned. You (CBI)
must be careful but at the same time you cannot let people
question your credibility," the court said.
Directing the CBI to file a status report on the probe
on the next date of hearing, the court said, "If we are
satisfied with the status report we will grant you more time
to investigate. If it seems that you are inactive then a
special team would have to be formed to probe the matter."
The strong words from the bench came while hearing
petitions filed by social activists Simpreet Singh and Pravin
Wategaonkar seeking court`s monitoring of the probe and
direction to ED to initiate inquiry into alleged money
laundering by Adarsh society members.
Explaining the delay, CBI counsel Mandar Goswami told
the court that as the agency was also looking into `benami`
transactions in the 104-member housing society the process
was taking time because a huge quantity of documents had to be
examined. "Several of the members have purchased flats in
Adarsh through benami transactions," he said.
Following this, the court directed CBI to name all
such members in its status report to be filed on March 12.
The court also asked why the Maharashtra government
was not cancelling the allotments to members who bought benami
flats in the society.
Public prosecutor Pandurang Pol informed the court
that the government would look into the matter when CBI
submits a report to them.