NEW DELHI: The CBI on Sunday recorded the statement of the Union Power Minister, Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde in the Adarsh housing case as he had accepted a proposal recommending 40 per cent allotment of flats to civilians in the Mumbai society meant for Kargil victims when he was chief minister.
With the CBI trying to wind up the probe in the multi-crore scam, which had stirred a political storm in Maharashtra leading to resignation of Mr Ashok Chavan as chief minister, an agency team arrived here from Mumbai and queried him on the reasons for clearing the file sent by Mr Chavan, who was state revenue minister between 2003 and 2004.
When contacted, Mr Shinde refused to divulge the details of his examination by the CBI. "It was only recording of statement and it won’t be proper to divulge as the matter is under probe," Mr Shinde told PTI here.
While the CBI maintained silence on the investigation, political circles attach significance to the fact that the development comes on the eve of the monsoon session of Parliament during which questions could be raised as to why he had not been questioned by the CBI.
Mr Shinde, as the chief minister of Maharashtra, had accepted the proposal sent by Mr Chavan as revenue minister, recommending that 40 per cent of flats in the proposed society be allotted to non-Army members. The society was originally meant for the kin of Kargil war martyrs.
After Mr Shinde, the CBI may now record the statement of another Union minister, Mr Vilasrao Deshmukh soon, who too had dealt with Adarsh files when he was the chief minister.
In January this year, the CBI had registered a case against 14 persons, including Mr Chavan, who had succeeded Mr Deshmukh as chief minister but had to resign when Adarsh scandal broke out, some retired Army officers and government officials on charges of criminal conspiracy, fraud and misuse of official power.
In May, the CBI had told the Bombay High Court that there was no prima facie evidence linking Mr Deshmukh and Mr Shinde to the scam. A PIL had sought a probe against the two ministers.
Mr Shinde, during whose tenure several clearances were granted for housing, had said earlier that the plot in Colaba on which the controversial Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society building has been constructed, was "not reserved" for defence personnel and Kargil war heroes.
Filing an affidavit before a two-member panel probing the Adarsh scam, Mr Shinde had said: "The plot where Adarsh stands is owned by the state of Maharashtra. The plot was not reserved for defence personnel or Kargil war heroes."
"The letter of intent dated January 18, 2003 made it clear that the land was allotted according to Government Resolution (GR) of July 1999 which did not provide reservation for war heroes," the Union minister had in his affidavit.
He had said no complaints on Adarsh allotment was received by his during his tenure as Maharashtra chief minister.
"During my tenure as chief minister from January 2003 till November 2004, I did not get any complaint about any alleged irregularity in allotment of the land to Adarsh Society," he said in his affidavit.