No evidence yet of Deshmukh, Shinde culpability in Adarsh: CBI

Bombay High Court directed the CBI to record the statements of suspects in the Adarsh Housing Society scam regardless of their status.

Last Updated: May 05, 2011, 21:52 PM IST

Mumbai: Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the
CBI to record the statements of suspects in the Adarsh Housing
Society scam regardless of their status even as the agency
told the court it has no incriminating evidence yet against
Union Ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh.

The High Court had last week directed CBI to look into the
allegations made against Shinde and Deshmukh by social
activist Simpreet Singh in a petition filed before the court.

CBI had yesterday submitted a progress report to the
division bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and R G Ketkar
detailing all files pertaining to the Adarsh building in
upscale Colaba handled by Shinde and Deshmukh during their
tenure as chief ministers of Maharashtra.

According to CBI sources, the agency has not yet found any
incriminating evidence against the two central ministers. In
its progress report, the CBI has stated that documents are
being verified and probe is on but it has not found any
evidence of culpability of the two ministers in the offence.

The petitioner`s lawyer, Y P Singh, however said there was
"overwhelming" evidence against Shinde and the least that CBI
could do was to question the Union Minister.

"It looks like you (CBI) have some leads. If statements are
to be recorded or certain questions have to be asked then go
ahead. Do not bother about who the person is. Conduct an
independent probe," Justice Desai said after perusing the
report.

"Shinde had passed a proposal submitted to him by then
revenue minister Ashok Chavan, an accused in the scam,
allowing inclusion of civilians in the society, which was
meant for Kargil war widows," Simpreet`s lawyer Y P Singh
argued.

Meanwhile, the court rapped the investigating agency for
"neglecting" the case of the files relating to the Adarsh
society that have gone missing from the Urban Development
Department.

"Have you located the files? Who is responsible? Do not
neglect that. It is also an equally important case. Focus on
that also. CBI should have informed about that case too in the
progress report," Justice Desai said.

The court directed the CBI to submit another progress
report by June 22.

In a related development, the court dismissed an
application filed by retired Brigadier A C Chopra, one of the
society members, seeking restoration of electricity and water
supply to the building pending court`s decision on the Adarsh
society`s petition challenging the demolition order passed by
Union Ministry of Environment and Forest.

"Chopra has invested his entire life`s savings in the flat
in Adarsh. He wants to go to his ninth floor flat for carrying
out maintenance work, but is not able to do so because of no
electricity or water supply," the brigadier`s lawyer Janak
Dwarkadas argued.

The court however dismissed the application, saying
restoration of power and water supply could be misconstrued as
permission for society members to occupy their flats.

The Mumbai civic body and BEST had cut water and power
supply to the building last November after the society`s
Occupation Certificate was revoked by Mumbai Metropolitan
Region Development Authority.

PTI