Bombay HC rejects Governor’s sanction to prosecute Ashok Chavan

After the acquittal of 2g scam accused on Thursday, another shot in the arm for Congress came when, Bombay High Court on Friday set aside Governor’s sanction to prosecute Senior Congress leader and Former Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan in Adarsh Scam.

The High Court decision comes as a relief to Chavan as according to the state’s argument, the decision may mean acquittal for Chavan.

Chavan’s petition had alleged that the charges against him were politically motivated and that the BJP led state government had sought re-opening of the case basis details that were old. He had cited that there were no fresh details that had emerged against him.

In April 2016, Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao had given the sanction to prosecute Chavan for cheating and criminal conspiracy in the multi-crore Adarsh Housing scam.

A division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Sadhana Jadhav ruled that though the CBI had claimed to be in possession of fresh evidence against Chavan at the time of seeking the sanction, it “failed to present any fresh evidence.”

The bench said the material presented by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) before Governor Rao could not be converted into credible fresh evidence against Chavan.

“The sanctioning authority is an independent body that can’t allow itself to be influenced by anyone’s opinion,” the court said.

The same sanction was declined by former governor K Shankarnarayanan.

The CBI has accused Chavan of approving additional floor space index (FSI) for the Adarsh society in posh south Mumbai, and accepting two flats for his relatives in return when he was the chief minister.

He is also accused of illegally approving, as revenue minister earlier, allotment of 40 per cent of flats to civilians even though the society was originally meant for defence personnel.

It may be noted that Chavan had resigned in light of the allegations of corruption against him.