HC bench recuses itself from hearing Adarsh PILs

A division bench of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday recused itself from hearing a bunch of public interest litigations (PILs) in Mumbai's Adarsh scam case.

The bench also refused to hear an application by former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan seeking quashing of the cheating and corruption case registered against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

"Not before us," a division bench of Justices S A Bobde and R G Ketkar said when the PILs came up for hearing. The bench did not give any reasons for recusing itself from hearing the matter.

The bench, which has been hearing the Adarsh matter for several months, recused itself after senior counsel Amit Desai mentioned the application filed by Ashok Chavan seeking quashing of a corruption and cheating case registered against him for his alleged role in the sale of flats meant for defence veterans to various non-eligible persons.

When Desai told the court that he was being assisted by other lawyers from Federal and Rashmikant legal firm, Justice Bobde said, "I cannot hear it then."

The entire Adarsh matter, which includes PILs filed by social activists Simpreet Singh and Pravin Wategaonkar seeking court supervision into the CBI probe, affidavits filed by Maharashtra government and Adarsh society challenging CBI probe into the matter, will now be referred to another division bench by the Chief Justice of the High Court.

Chavan had filed an application on Monday seeking to quash and set aside the CBI FIR against him on the ground that CBI has no jurisdiction to probe the matter as neither the high court nor the state government has consented for probe by the central agency.

The former chief minister had also claimed that he has been wrongly named in the FIR as part of a political conspiracy to keep him away from public affairs.