20 MLAs rally behind Adarsh-tainted Chavan

Twenty Congress MLAs have come out openly in support of former chief minister Ashok Chavan, who is among the 13 accused in the first information report (FIR) the Central Bureau of Investigation has filed in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam.

Even as the Congress Party has distanced itself from Chavan, the 20 MLAs, led by former minister Abdul Sattar, called on Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday and submitted a letter expressing solidarity with the former chief minister, seeking a sympathetic view from the government. 

State Congress president Manikrao Thakare had categorically said on Wednesday that the party wants a transparent investigation into the Adarsh scam and will not interfere with the CBI investigation. "The law will take its own course," he had said. 

However, the group of 20, which held a three-hour lunch meeting at Sattar's residence opposite Mantralaya, decided to openly support Ashok Chavan. The former chief minister attended the lunch but did not join the MLAs when they later called on Prithviraj Chavan. 

Sattar claimed he had hosted the lunch as it was his last day at the bungalow, which was his official residence while a minister. Sattar, who was a member of the Ashok Chavan cabinet, was dropped when Prithviraj Chavan became chief minister. 

Sattar said the state government should first declare who owned the land on which the Adarsh building has come up. The group said that since the state had already appointed a judicial commission, there is no need for the CBI to investigate the matter. The group requested the chief minister to plead Ashok Chavan's case in Delhi.