Why no arrests in Adarsh case yet, Bombay High Court asks CBI

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) submitted status report on the Adarsh Society scam with the Bombay High Court on Monday.

The Division Bench of Justices P.B. Majumdar and R.D. Dhanuka questioned the CBI why it made no arrests, despite filing FIRs and having enough evidence. “Why have you not arrested any of the accused yet? Are you feeling shy or are you just protecting the accused? If prima facie case is made out against anyone then action should be taken irrespective of who that person is. Delay in such cases can be dangerous,” the Bench said.

The Court asked the investigating agency to take action “without fear or favour”: “We agree that some of the accused persons are high-ranking politicians but by initiating action the CBI should send out a message that any wrongdoer, irrespective of who he is, will be punished,” Justice Majumdar said.

The former Maharashtra Chief Minister, Ashok Chavan, Congress leader K.L. Gidwani, top-ranking retired army officers Lt. General P.K. Rampal, Major Generals A.R. Kumar and T.K. Kaul, retired brigadiers R.C. Sharma and M.M. Wanchoo are among the accused. The FIR also names Subash Lala, the then Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, former Principal Secretary of the Urban Development Department Ramanand Tiwari, former Municipal Commissioner and IAS officer Jairaj Phatak and fellow IAS colleague and former Mumbai Collector Pradeep Vyas as accused.

The Court rejected the contention of CBI counsel K. Sudhakar and Ejaz Khan that arrests had been delayed as the investigation was in the last stages and a charge sheet would be filed in two months. “Filing of charge sheet should not stop the CBI from arresting the accused. In several cases, the CBI arrests the accused first and then files charge sheet. Why are you making an exception in this case?” Justice Majumdar asked.

The Court said that it would summon the CBI director if concrete steps were not taken and adjourned the matter till March 22. The Court asked the CBI, the IT department and the ED to hold a meeting at the highest level to coordinate and implement solutions for the Adarsh land scam.

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