Mumbai: Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has got a clean chit by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Adarsh Housing Society scam in Mumbai. The CBI on Thursday told the Bombay High Court that petitioner Pravin Wategaonkar's plea to make Shinde one of the accused in the case doesn't stand as the Union Home Minister during his tenure as Maharashtra chief minister did not abuse his position as a public servant.
"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 CBI affidavit filed in the High Court states.
According to the CBI the petitioner has relied on statements made by Kanhaiyalal Gidwani and Major NW Khankhoje to a commission probing the Adarsh Housing Society scam. Both Gidwani and Major Khankhoje are not alive.
Shinde had reportedly recommended Major Khankhoje's name for a flat in the Adarsh Society. The CBI in its affidavit also said that Major Khankhoje is not related to Shinde.
Former MLC Kanhaiyalal Gidwani had deposed before the Adarsh commission that Shinde had asked for inclusion of Major 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 Sushil Kumar 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.
Wategaonkar, in his application, had also stated that Shinde during his deposition before the commission had said that the Adarsh file had come to him for clearance. After going through verification from the collector and officers of the revenue department, Shinde saw that only 20 of the 71 approved members were found eligible and had asked for a recheck on eligibility of the other 51 members.
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.
A division bench of Justices PV Hardas and PN Deshmukh adjourned hearing in the case till September 26.
Shinde was Maharashtra chief minister from 2001 to 2003 when he cleared files related to Adarsh Housing Society.
Adarsh Housing Society flats were meant for families of Kargil War heroes. But several flats in the society were allotted to bureaucrats, senior defence personnel and even politicians.