MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court, on Tuesday, slammed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Director (ED) for lapses and delay in the Adarsh Society scam’s investigation.
The court questioned CBI about the delay in investigations that have been going on since January last year, “Why have you not finished the investigation till now? It is a matter where many big names are concerned. You cannot let people question your credibility,” the court said. The agency has been ordered to file a status report on its investigations at the next date of hearing. “If we are satisfied with the status report we will grant you more time to investigate, however if it seems that you are inactive then a special team would have to be formed to probe the matter,” the court stated.
A division bench of Justice P.B. Majmudar and Justice R.D. Dhanuka also summoned the ED to appear before it in the next hearing, saying that ‘he had not moved an inch to probe the money-laundering offences by some members of the Adarsh Society’. The court questioned why the ED office did not probe the issue independent of CBI’s investigation. “Why are you depending on the CBI? You are a separate agency and can conduct probe independently,” Justice Majmudar said.
Terming the ED as a ‘mute spectator’ the court said, “There is a serious lapse on the agency’s part …It reflects a sorry state of affairs,” the bench observed. The court was hearing petitions filed by social activists Simpreet Singh and Pravin Wategaonkar that sought orders to the Enforcement Director (ED) to probe money-laundering offences and also court’s intervention to supervise the investigations into the scam.
The CBI lawyer, Mandher Goswami stated that the delay was caused because several of the 104-member housing society transactions were benami and the agency needed time to go through the documents of all transactions. The court ordered CBI to produce the names and complete details in the interim report on 12th March. The court also asked why the Maharashtra government was not cancelling the allotments to members who bought benami flats in the society. Public prosecutor Pandurang Pol informed the court that the government would look into the matter after the CBI report is submitted to them