Mumbai: In a bid to dodge the sanction that has been given to prosecute him in the Adarsh Society scam, former chief minister Ashok Chavan on Monday accused Governor Vidya-sagar Rao of being “biased” against him.
The Congress leader informed the Bombay High Court that Rao’s decision to grant the sanction to prosecute him was nothing but “political vendetta”. A division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Sadhana Jadhav heard Chavan through his counsel Amit Desai. Chavan, the president of Congress’ Maharashtra unit, had moved the high court earlier this year challenging the sanction granted by Rao to prosecute him under charges of criminal conspiracy and forgery.
Chavan has challenged the sanction on the ground that the earlier Governor, K. Sankaranarayanan, had refused to give his nod to prosecute him in the case. Senior counsel Desai told the judges that the current Governor, Rao, has been an “active member” of the ruling BJP. He even highlighted Rao’s political career graph to show his “close association” with the BJP.
“The orders passed by the former Governor were never challenged but once the BJP came to power in the state, the CBI, at their (BJP leaders’) behest, sought a review of the orders. This is clearly misuse of power and the decision is politically motivated,” Desai said.
“The present Governor has been active in the BJP and he owes his appointment (as a Governor) to the BJP. He has concluded (in his sanction orders) that there are change in circumstances, but we think these orders are a result of the change in political circumstances. I can say that he has been biased against me and his decision was politically motivated,” Desai said while arguing for his client.
Desai argued that Rao and the BJP have misused their powers to prosecute Chavan by passing a “mala-fide and arbitrary” decision. “We have not approached this court to seek some political mileage but we are here to argue on a point of law. We do not want to give an impression that we are against the Governor; rather we are only challenging his administrative orders,” he said.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, on the other hand, opposed Chavan’s arguments and asked him to delete Rao’s name from the list of respondents. Accordingly, Desai assured the court that Rao’s name would be deleted. Meanwhile, the judges clarified that they would not get into the contentions of political vendetta or anything else.
“We will only restrict ourselves to examine if the material placed before the present Governor was fresh or not. And if so, why the material was not provided to the former Governor,” Justice Jadhav clarified. The submission are likely to continue on Tuesday.