No evidence to implicate Sushilkumar Shinde in Adarsh scam: CBI to HC

The Central Bureau of Investigation gave a clean chit to Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde in Adarsh Housing Society scam.

Zee Media Bureau

Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday gave a clean chit to Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde in Adarsh Housing Society scam before the Bombay High Court.

The agency informed the Bombay High Court that there is no evidence to suggest that Shinde during his tenure as Maharashtra Chief Minister abused his position as a public servant.

The Bombay High Court had on September 02 said the Centre, Maharashtra government, CBI, and Adarsh Society may file their responses to a plea seeking that Shinde be added as an accused in the housing society scam case.

"CBI does not feel it legally necessary to name Sushilkumar Shinde as an accused person in the ongoing investigation being carried out by it," the affidavit states.
According to the application filed by social activist Pravin Wategaonkar, Shinde, who had handled documents of the controversial Adarsh Housing Society during his tenure as Maharashtra chief minister, owns a benami flat in the plush 31-storey highrise in south Mumbai.

The affidavit had also said that Shinde had suggested inclusion of Major N Khankhoje as a member of Adarsh society, even after the latter had been declared ineligible as his son, and not he himself, was going to pay for a flat.

Former MLC Kanhaiyalal Gidwani had deposed before the Adarsh commission that Shinde had asked for inclusion of Khankhoje as member.

"Khankhoje`s membership may have been pursued by KL Gidwani but it cannot be confirmed as Gidwani has passed away. The CBI chargesheet states that civilian members in the society were included at the instance of Gidwani," the affidavit reads.

"Investigation conducted by CBI does not reveal any family relationship between Khankhoje and Shinde. There is nothing on record to substantiate deposition made by Gidwani to the commission that Khankhoje was included by Sushilkumar Shinde," the affidavit filed by K Babu, senior CBI official, states.

"There is no evidence coming to light during investigation to suggest that Shinde abused his position as public servant for the benefit of someone from Khankhoje family in connivance with the office bearers of Adarsh," the affidavit states.

In his application, Wategaonkar contended that after verification by the Collector and revenue department officials, Shinde found only 20 of the 71 approved members were eligible and asked for a recheck to ascertain the suitability of other 51 members of the society.

According to Wategaonkar, this alleged act of Shinde insisting on 51 members to be rechecked/ substituted before possession of land to be given to Adarsh Society resulted in illegal benami transaction in respect of flats.

"There is nothing on record to suggest that Shinde had insisted on 51 more members by rechecking/substituting ineligible members before possession of land to be given to Adarsh society which resulted in addition of illegal benami members," CBI said in its affidavit.

The CBI had filed a chargesheet in the Adarsh scam against 13 persons, including former chief minister Ashok Chavan.

Though two other former chief ministers--Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh-- were also under its scanner for according various clearances to the housing society, they were not made accused in the case in which top retired army officers and public servants faced charges.

Shinde was the chief minister of Maharashtra between 2001 and 2003 when he cleared several files relating to allotment of land to the Adarsh society.
The scam pertains to alleged irregularities in construction and allotment of apartments in the building said to be originally meant for families of Kargil war heroes and their widows.

In his deposition before the judicial commission constituted by the state government to go into the alleged scam, Shinde had in June last year said the society was not reserved for war heroes and Kargil widows.

(With PTI inputs)