Mumbai: In a setback for Maharashtra's former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, the Bombay High Court today turned down a CBI plea to drop his name as an accused in the Adarsh scam, paving the way for his trial.
The court, however, stayed the execution of its order for four weeks to enable the investigating agency to file an appeal.
"I am inclined to reject the petition and dismiss it," Justice M L Tahilyani said in an one-line order the details of which would be pronounced later.
The judgement was delivered through video conference as Justice Tahilyani is currently presiding over a bench in Nagpur.
After the court delivered the order, CBI counsel Hiten Venegaonkar prayed for a stay so that the agency could appeal against it, which was granted.
"The plea for a stay on the order is being granted as CBI wants to file an appeal," the judge said.
The court also rejected an intervention application filed by social activist Ketan Tirodkar opposing CBI's plea for dropping Chavan's name, accepting the investigating agency's contention that he had no locus standi in the case.
Justice Tahilyani, however, said he would go through the Supreme Court judgement cited by Tirodkar that gubernatorial sanction was not required when charge sheet had already been filed against an accused.
CBI had initially moved the trial court seeking deletion of Chavan's name from the list of accused mentioned in the FIR. After it was rejected, the investigating agency filed a revision application in the High Court which was also dismissed.
The CBI had sought Chavan's exclusion from the FIR after the then Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranaryanan refused to sanction his prosecution in December last year.
Chavan was among 13 people Charge sheeted by CBI in the scam in July 2012.
The former Chief Minister, who had to resign when the scam came to light in 2010, had challenged the inclusion of his name in the trial court on the ground that CBI had not secured sanction from the Governor for his prosecution.
The CBI had contested his argument, saying since he was not a minister when the charge sheet was filed, the Governor's approval was not needed. However, the trial court asked the CBI to seek the sanction of the Governor, who rejected it citing inadequate evidence.
CBI had then sought dropping the case against Chavan so the trial against 12 others could proceed. The trial court, however, rejected its plea in January this year.
Chavan had been charged with approving additional floor space index for the Adarsh Society in return for two flats for his relatives.
As the state's Revenue Minister, Chavan was also accused of having illegally approved allotment of 40 per cent of the flats to civilians though the society was said to be meant only for Kargil war widows and defence personnel.