Adarsh scam: Ashok Chavan quizzed by CBI

New Delhi: After quizzing two Union Ministers in connection with the multi-crore Adarsh scam, the CBI has examined former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, as the agency prepares to wrap up its probe in the housing society case.

According to sources in the probe agency here today, Chavan was questioned by the CBI sleuths in Mumbai early this month about his role in connection with Adarsh Housing Society during his tenure as state Revenue Minister and as the Chief Minister.

Chavan, who is an accused in the case, was the third politician to be examined by the CBI after Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Science and Technology minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. When contacted, Chavan refused to comment saying the matter was sub-judice.

According to CBI, Chavan during his tenure as Revenue Minister allegedly became part of the criminal conspiracy along with other accused members of the Housing society in the approval of resolution recommending inclusion of civilians in Adarsh society which was originally meant for Kargil war widows and victims.

CBI has alleged that Chavan abused his official position with an ulterior motive of getting flats for his relatives. It has questioned at length other accused including Adarsh society`s general secretary R C Thakur, retired Army Brigadier M M Wanchoo and Congress leader K L Gidwani.

The agency gathered sufficient information about the case before Chavan and senior IAS officer Jairaj Phatak were called for questioning, CBI sources said.

Phatak, a 1978 batch IAS officer of Maharashtra cadre, was the then Commissioner of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and was heading the committee on high rise buildings.

The allegation against Phatak was that during his tenure as Commissioner of BMC, he had approved the height to be increased from 97 metres to 107 metres on September 1, 2007. The agency has alleged that he had not referred the height increase to other committee members.

CBI had on January 29 last year registered a case against 14 persons including Chavan and retired army officials, bureaucrats and state government officials on charges of criminal conspiracy, fraud and misuse of their official powers.

The plush housing society was built on prime defence land in alleged violation of rules. The building was originally meant to be a six-storey structure to house families of Kargil war heroes but was later extended to 31 floors without mandatory permission with the flats being given to relatives of politicians, bureaucrats and police officials.