CBI not probing 'benami' deals in Adarsh scam, says PIL

A public interest petition filed in the Bombay high court on Thursday could embroil all those concerned in Mumbai's Adarsh Housing Society scam in further controversy.

The petition by Praveen Wategaonkar, an entrepreneur and management graduate who was a student activist, raises questions about why investigating agencies are only looking at the bribery element in the case and not focussing on suspicious transactions made by the buyers of flats in the Adarsh building.

The petition has requested the court to monitor investigations and asked that accused also be booked under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. It has been posted for hearing on 22 June.

If the plea is granted, it could spell serious trouble for the accused, which include several top bureaucrats, retired defence brass, and state politicians, including former chief minister Ashok Chavan, as it would involve the Enforcement Directorate in the investigations as well as the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The petition argues that several members of the society have been found to own 'benami' flats (purchased in the name of close relatives), which indicates that transactions for these purchases could not have been above board.

 This looks like a ploy to launder money and must be investigated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act - merely invoking Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act may not be enough, says the petition.