CBI arrests IAS officer in Adarsh scam

Ahead of hearing of the case in the Bombay High Court on Thursday, CBI on Wednesday made three key arrests in the multi-crore rupee Adarsh Housing Society scam.

Zeenews Bureau

Mumbai: Ahead of hearing of the case in the
Bombay High Court on Thursday, CBI on Wednesday made three key arrests in the multi-crore rupee Adarsh Housing Society scam.

IAS officer Pradeep Vyas and two former Major Generals of the Army were taken into custody today by the agency investigating the case.

Major General (retd) A R Kumar was arrested in the wee
hours from his Hyderabad residence and produced before a court
there for transit remand for being taken to Mumbai, official
sources said.

A CBI team visited the home of another retired Maj Gen T
K Kaul who was not present at his home in Mumbai but later
turned up at the CBI office on his own where the fomalities
were completed for his arrest.

Both Kumar and Kaul would be produced before a designated
court here tomorrow along with former Congress MLC Kanhiya Lal
Gidwani who was arrested yesterday after he had secured a bail
in another case.

CBI today secured a remand for three others -- R C Thakur,
a retired defence estates officer, and Brig (retd) M M Wanchoo
and P V Deshmukh, former Deputy Secretary in the state Urban
Development department. They were remanded to CBI custody till
March 31.

In its remand note, CBI said the agency needs to unearth
how the accused persons managed to get clearances from state
government and other agencies and whether any payments were

CBI also said the custody was required to find out the
benami transactions.

The land where the Adarsh Housing Society was formed
falls under Coastal Regulatory Zone for which clearance from
the Ministry of Environment and Forests is essential.

CBI alleged Deshmukh had misused his official position as
Deputy Secretary of the state Urban Development department and
issued a letter to the Collector, Mumbai, stating that MoEF
has granted a No Objection certificate.

According to CBI, the MoEF had not given any permission
but only said permission must be taken from the Maharashtra
Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA).

CBI said the housing society was meant for serving and
retired defence personnel but at a later stage civilians were
also included at the behest of public servants who dealt with
the file and got allotted a flat in the society as advantage.

About today`s arrest, CBI alleged Kumar had, during
his tenure as General Officer Commanding (GOC) Maharashtra,
Goa and Gujarat Area, fraudulently and illegally issued a No
Objection Certificate (NOC) to the Collector of Mumbai for
development of a residential building on the plot.

Kumar`s son was allotted a flat in the plush 31-storey
building in return for the favour, the agency alleged.

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

These are the first arrests by CBI ever since it
registered a case in the multi-crore 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 R D Dhanuka had questioned CBI for delaying
the arrests in the case.

"Why have you (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 said during its
March 12 hearing.

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

(With PTI inputs)