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HC pulls up CBI over Adarsh probe

The court has asked the agency to submit its report within two weeks.



Mumbai: The Bombay High Court Tuesday pulled up
CBI for the "delay" in filing a FIR in Adarsh Housing scam and
ordered it to take a final decision within two weeks even as
Maharashtra Government opposed a probe by the central agency.

The court also directed issuing of summons to CBI`s
regional Joint Director to appear before it when the court
hears the case again after two weeks.

During hearing of a petition in the Adarsh case, a
division bench of Justices B H Marlapalle and U D Salvi asked,
"It has been more than two months since CBI has been
conducting a preliminary inquiry into the case. Why have you
(CBI) not registered FIR as yet?"

"We fail to understand why there is a delay in lodging
of FIR. Media reports have virtually carried CBI`s draft FIR
and revealed all the accused`s names," Justice Marlapalle
said.

The state Home department in its affidavit submitted to
the court said that in the Adarsh case, the issues which
arise fall within the domain of the state government and the
Central Government has "little or no concern" with the same.

"Handing over such investigation to another agency or
the CBI is an extreme measure and rarely resorted to," it
said, adding there is no jurisdictional basis for handing over
the case to CBI.

The petition was filed by activist Simpreet Singh which
said since both CBI and the state Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB)
were involved in the probe, it may create issues of
jurisdiction "which might hamper the probe".

According to the petition, with three former chief
ministers allegedly involved in the scam, the ACB may be under
pressure not to effectively probe the case and hence the
entire investigation should be handed over to CBI.

Additional Solicitor General Darius Khambata,
appearing for CBI, sought four weeks to finish the probe,
saying, "It is a sensitive case involving big names. The
agency does not want to take any hasty decision."

The court however refused to grant more than two weeks
to the agency and ordered the regional Joint Director of CBI
to appear before it.

The Home Department`s affidavit said "in the Adarsh case,
the issues which arise falls within the domain of the state
government. The Central Government has little or no concern
with the same. There is, therefore, no jurisdictional basis
for handing over the investigations to the CBI."

"The assumption that Anti Corruption Branch being a
state agency is not suitable for or will have difficulty in
enquiry into allegation or issues in view of the alleged
involvement of officials of the central government is
totally misconceived.

"The petitioner completely overlooks the fact that it is
the nature of the offence and not the identity of the offender
which is paramount," it said, adding there is no merit in the
petitioner`s contention casting doubts about ACB`s ability to
probe the case.

PTI

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