Mumbai: CBI on Sunday conducted searches in
Maharashtra and Bihar at the premises of four accused in the
Adarsh housing scam, including a retired Army officer, a
Congress leader and a former state government official, and
will soon issue notices for summoning them for questioning.
The searches were conducted at the residences of the
society`s general secretary RC Thakur, retired Brigadier MM
Wanchoo and Congress leader KL Gidwani and former principal
secretary of Urban Development department Ramanand Tiwari in
the two states.
The office of the Adarsh society located in posh Colaba
here was also searched.
The searches were carried out a day after the CBI filed
an FIR against 13 people, including former Maharastra Chief
Minister Ashok Chavan and some retired senior Army officials
for their alleged involvement in the Adarsh scam.
"Thakur, Wanchoo and Gidwani were not present at the
premises when the searches were conducted. We are likely to
issue notices to the trio summoning them for questioning," a
senior CBI official said.
While searches at Thakur`s residences in Bihar, Nagpur
and Thane are over, the operations at Tiwari`s house in
Mumbai continued till late in the evening.
Wanchoo`s house in Pune and Gidwani`s house at Worli
in central Mumbai were also searched, the official added.
According to CBI sources, Thakur, Wanchoo and Gidwani
were allegedly the prime movers in building the society, the
Thakur was the then sub-divisional officer at the
Defence Estate Office of Mumbai while Gidwani, a former
Congress MLC, was the chief promoter of the society.
The CBI sources said that computers, laptops and some
documents were seized from the premises which would be
analysed by the sleuths.
The electronic items would be sent to Hyderabad and
Delhi for examination of the hard disk. Tiwari, who was
recently suspended by Maharashtra government as Information
Commissioner, has been accused of misusing his official power
and passing letters in favour of the society. His son Onkar
Tiwari has a flat in the building.
Apart from Chavan and the four accused, the FIR also
names retired Lt General PK Rampal, Major Generals A R Kumar
and TK Kaul, Subash Lala, the then Principal Secretary to the
Chief Minister and Brig (retd) R C Sharma.
The FIR has been filed under various sections of IPC
including criminal conspiracy, cheating, and forgery and
showing forged document as genuine besides sections
pertaining to Prevention of Corruption Act.
Chavan, who had to quit as chief minister last year
after it was found that his family members also owned flats in
the society, was revenue minister between 2001-2003 and had
dealt with files pertaining to the ownership of the land.
He is alleged to have recommended 40 percent allotment
of flats in the society to civilians. The flats were meant for
war widows and heroes of Kargil war, the sources said.
The FIR also named Pradeep Vyas, the then collector of
Mumbai who is alleged to have cleared names of 71 persons in
the society of which several were not eligible. His wife Seema
Vyas is alleged to have a flat in the society.
The agency had registered a preliminary inquiry into
the scam in November last year.
Two former army chiefs Gen Deepak Kapoor and Gen N C
Vij and ex-navy chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh owned flats in
the scam-hit society building. However, the former top chiefs
have claimed that they have now surrendered the flats.
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had on
January 16 ordered demolition of the building within three
months, holding it as "unauthorised" and built in violation of
the spirit of coastal regulations.
Apart from violating the CRZ norms, the society is
alleged to have got clearances from various authorities
through dubious means.
The 31-storey building with 103 flats was built on prime
defence land in alleged violation of rules. The building was
originally meant to be a six-storey structure.