CBI arrests four accused in Adarsh housing scam

CBI on Tuesday arrested four accused including a retired Army Brigadier in the multi-crore Adarsh housing scam.

Mumbai: After a wrap on its knuckles from
the Bombay High Court for lackadaisical approach in probing
the multi-crore Adarsh housing scam, the CBI on Tuesday arrested
four accused including a retired Army Brigadier.

CBI officials swooped down at the residence of RC
Thakur, a retired defence estates officer, and
Brigadier(retired) M M Wanchoo and took them to its office.

Later, the duo, along with PV Deshmukh, a former Deputy
Secretary in the Urban Department, were taken to a hospital
for medical checkup, a formality before effecting an arrest.

The fourth accused Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, a former Congress
MLC, has also been placed under arrest in the case. He is
already in jail in connection with another case where an
Income Tax consultant was allegedly bribed to dilute charges
in the case. All the four are among 14 people named in the FIR
registered by the CBI in January last year.

The action of the CBI comes barely two days ahead of
another hearing before the Bombay High Court, which in its
last hearing, had hit out at the CBI for its failure to act
against the high and the mighty.

These are the first arrests by the CBI ever since it
registered a case in the multi-crore Adarsh housing scam in
which former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has also been named
as an accused.

A division bench of the high court comprising justices P
B Majmudar and RD Dhanuka had questioned the CBI for delaying
the arrests in the case.

"Why have you (the CBI) not arrested any of the accused
yet? Are you feeling shy or are you just protecting the
accused? If prima facie case is made out against anyone, then
action should be taken irrespective of who that person is.
Delay in such cases can be dangerous," the bench had observed
during its March 12 hearing.

After perusing through the progress report submitted by
the CBI, the court had said when the agency has found
sufficient material against the accused persons, then why no
action in the form of arrest was being taken.

"Take action without fear or favour. We agree that some
of the accused persons are high ranking politicians but by
initiating action, the CBI should send out a message that any
wrongdoer irrespective of who he is will be punished," the
bench had said and termed as unfortunate that the CBI had
failed to initiate action even after having the evidence.

"Filing of the charge sheet should not stop you (the CBI)
from arresting the accused. In several cases, the CBI arrests
the accused first and then files charge sheet. Why are you
making an exception in this case?" Justice Majmudar had

After being left red-faced during the court hearing, a
CBI team led by its Joint Director Rishi Raj Singh had rushed
to the national capital to discuss the case with the agency
Director AP Singh.

After the meeting, it was decided that they would proceed
and arrest some of the accused ahead of the next hearing.

The CBI has also sought sanction to prosecute Jairaj
Pathak and Pradeep Vyas, both IAS officers, who are allegedly
involved in the case.

According to CBI, Thakur and Wanchoo conspired with
members of defence services, officials of Maharashtra
government and others with the intention to illegally get the
land allotted in favor of Adarsh society.

"They were public servants who abused their official
position, manipulated and fabricated the records in order to
get the land allotted to Adarsh in an illegal manner. The
accused (Thakur and Wanchoo) also got various clearances from
municipal authorities and state government illegally," CBI
said in its FIR.

PV Deshmukh while working as deputy secretary in the
Urban Development Department of the state government is
accused to have conspirated with Thakur.

"Deshmukh fraudulently communicated to the municipal
corporation that a No Objection Certificate was granted by the
Ministry of Environment and Forest when there was no such
NOC," the agency alleged.

Former Congress MLC Gidwani allegedly used his political
influence with public servants in the government and offered
them flats in the plush society in return of favors towards
the project, it said.

All the four accused would be produced before a special
CBI court tomorrow.