CBI ups pressure on Ashok Chavan; to be summoned

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Ashok Chavan
Mumbai, May 30: The Adarsh Housing Scam was slightly sidelined after a slew of other scams stole the limelight. But the CBI has upped the ante by accelerating the investigations of the housing scam that brought disgrace to the Maharashtra government as well as the ruling UPA. The CBI will summon some of the high profile names, both accused and witnesses in the scam including former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan.

Chavan had stepped down from the Chief Minister's post after his name surfaced in the scam and was named one among the 14 others accused. A senior CBI officer quoted, “One by one, all the accused will questioned. The case has made strong progress and hence all the accused will be called in for questioning."

The high profile housing scam had exposed the bureaucratic nexus in acquiring flats in the Adarsh building originally meant for Kargil war widows and families of the soldiers.

The CBI"s FIR has stated earlier that Chavan had conspired with Adarsh Society"s general secretary R C Thakur, retired brigadier M M Wanchoo and Congress leader K L Gidwani during his tenure as revenue minister. He was accused of recommending the inclusion of civilians in the society and had written a letter in this regard to those concerned. A senior IAS officer Jairaj Phatak is also likely to be questioned.

Chavan had also favoured allotting up to 40 percent of the flats to civilians. Sources reveal that the accused was being questioned collectively with an unnamed source adding, “Many of them were grilled together and we will continue to do that with other accused too. We had scheduled his questioning for last week. However, Phatak had to visit Delhi and hence we had to reschedule the questioning."

The investigative agencies have already questioned the prime accused Wanchoo, Gidwani and Thakur and have recorded the statements of witnesses like current Principal Secretary of the Urban Development (UD) department T C Benjamin, Chief Fire Officer and Deputy Fire Officer together with other members of the society. Last week saw the recording of statements by former Mumbai joint commissioner (Traffic) Sanjay Barve and his wife Sharmila.

An officer commented, “Statements of important witnesses have been recorded and they support our case. Witness statements of experts from different fields have also been recorded to aide us with the technical aspects."

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