Free Press Journal

Adarsh scam: SC notice to CBI on plea of Ashok Chavan


New Delhi: The Supreme Court today sought the CBI’s response on a plea of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan against a Bombay High Court order refusing to delete his name from the list of accused in the multi-crore rupees Adarsh housing society scam case.

The High Court had refused to recall its earlier order by which it had denied deletion of Chavan’s name from the list of accused. A bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar, which has now posted the matter for final disposal on July 21, issued the notice to the CBI which his been investigating and prosecuting the accused in the case.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Maharashtra, said Chavan has not “annexed the trial court’s speaking order” in his appeal. Senior advocate and former Law Minister Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chavan, said that once the charge of criminal conspiracy goes, the allegation against him cannot be sustained under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Chavan had on April 13 moved the apex court against the Bombay High Court decision in the case. Besides Sibal, former External Affairs Minister and senior lawyer Salman Khurshid is also representing their party colleague Chavan. “I have a problem with the impugned order. The special Judge states that the cognizance of the offence (against Chavan) has not been taken. The High Court states that the cognizance has been taken,” Sibal had said.

‘The High Court’s order that cognizance of the offence has already been taken is “erroneous” in taking judicial note of the crime, he had said, adding that a trial court “will have to issue process (summon)”, which was not done. Sibal said a separate plea, challenging constitutional validity of section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act, under which Chavan is also charged, is pending with the apex court on the ground that it can be invoked without the accused having ‘mens rea’ (intention to commit an offence).