NCP leader Majeed Memon on Thursday dubbed the sanction granted to the CBI by Maharashtra Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao to prosecute former chief minister Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh Housing Society scam as 'disastrous' if done in political interest and wondered whether this was an attempt by the BJP to wipe out Congress from the state.
"BJP and Congress are at loggerhead. We have heard the Prime Minister say time and again that 'we want Congress mukt bharat' (India sans Congress). So, is this an attempt to destroy Congress in Maharashtra because the man at the receiving end Ashok Chavan is one of the two MPs selected in the 2014 general election. So in order to damage him, is the Bharatiya Janata Party trying to damage or destroy Maharashtra Congress?" he asked.
"If this is the case and because of this the Governor has been asked to grant sanction then this is disastrous. And I'm afraid this should not be true. The office must not be abused. We have seen what happened in Arunachal Pradesh. But the Congress has a remedial measure to challenge the sanction in the court of law," he told ANI.
The senior lawyer also explained the procedure of granting sanction by a Governor and said that the exercise of the power was a legal one.
"Grant of sanction by the Governor is a legal exercise, it is not a political exercise because under the relevant laws of Prevention of Corruption Act, in order to protect honest public servants, who are not involved in any crime and yet they are being persecuted by false prosecution, they should be protected by the law. Therefore, there is a procedure for grant of sanction," he told ANI.
"But we have been seeing from past some time that the office of the Governor is being used, or rather abused for political purposes, for personal interest etc. which is a very bad indication as far as our Constitutional and legal framework is concerned. The grant and refusal of sanction in cases like this should be based entirely on the merits and the material of the case. Not on political consideration," he added.
The CBI had sought sanction for Chavan's prosecution under Section 197 of the CrPC on the basis of the report of Justice Patil Commission of Enquiry and the observations of the Bombay High Court.
The Governor had sought the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers and was advised by them to grant the sanction.
Soon after the order, Chavan hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party government and termed the order a "political vendetta against him." He said that he will seek legal advice in the case. He has also claimed that he will not resign from the post of president of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC).
Chavan was among the 13 people chargesheeted by the CBI in the Adarsh scam in July 2012.
The other accused, including top IAS officers and office bearers of the Adarsh Housing Society, were arrested earlier.
Chavan was forced to step down as the Chief Minister in November 2010 after it emerged that three of his relatives had been given apartments in the 30-storey building.
In December 2013, the then governor K. Sankaranarayan had refused sanction to the CBI to prosecute Chavan in the scam, leaving the agency with no choice but to close the case against him.