Mumbai, Jan 30 (Agencies): The Central Bureau of Investigation on Sunday swooped down in Maharashtra and Bihar at premises of four main accused in the Adarsh Housing Society scam, including a retired Army officer, a Congress leader and a former state government official, and will soon issue notices for summoning them for questioning.

The raids come a day after the CBI filed an FIR naming 13 people, including former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and some retired senior Army officials.

The searches were conducted at the residences and other places of the society's general secretary R C Thakur, retired Brigadier M M Wanchoo and Congress leader K L Gidwani
in various parts of Maharashtra and Bihar. The office of the Adarsh society located in posh Colaba here was among the places raided.

"Thakur, Wanchoo and Gidwani were not present at the premises when the searches were conducted. We are likely to issue notices to the trio summoning them for questioning," a
senior CBI official said.

While searches at Thakur's residences in Bihar, Nagpur and Thane are over, the operations at Tiwari's house in Mumbai continued till late in the evening.

Wanchoo's house in Pune and Gidwani's house at Worli in central Mumbai were also searched, the official added.

Thakur, the then sub-divisional officer at the Defence Estate Office of Mumbai and Gidwani, a former Congress MLC along with Wanchoo were allegedly the prime movers in building the society, according to the CBI sources.

The CBI sources said that computers, laptops and some documents were seized from the premises which would be analysed by the sleuths.

The electronic items would be sent to Hyderabad and Delhi for examination of the hard disk. Tiwari, who was recently suspended by Maharashtra government as Information Commissioner, has been accused of misusing his official power and passing letters in favour of the society. His son Onkar Tiwari has a flat in the building.

Late in the evening, CBI began searches at the residence of former deputy secretary P V Deshmukh.

Deshmukh was the deputy secretary in Maharashtra Urban Development ministry when the scam took place.

He was one of the accused in the FIR registered by the CBI on Saturday.

Chavan, Ex-Army Chiefs under scanner

Apart from Chavan and the trio, the FIR also names retired Lt General P K Rampal, Major Generals A R Kumar and T K Kaul, the then Principal Secretary (Urban Development) Ramanand Tiwari, who was recently suspended by Maharashtra government as Information Commissioner, Subash Lala, the then Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and Brig (retd) R C Sharma.

Chavan, who had to quit as Chief Minister last year after it was found that his family members also owned flats in the society, was revenue minister between 2001-2003 and had dealt with files pertaining to the ownership of the land. He is alleged to have recommended 40 per cent allotment of flats to civilians in the society, which was meant for war widows and heroes of Kargil war, the sources said.

The FIR also named Pradeep Vyas, the then collector of Mumbai who is alleged to have ratified 71 persons in the society of which several were ineligible members. His wife
Seema Vyas is alleged to have a flat in the society.

Two former army chiefs Gen Deepak Kapoor and Gen N C Vij and ex-navy chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh owned flats in the scam-hit society building. However, the former top Chiefs have claimed that they have now surrendered the flats.

The unuthorised building

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had on January 16 ordered demolition of the building within three months, holding it as "unauthorised" and built in violation of the spirit of coastal regulations.

Apart from violating the CRZ norms, the society is alleged to have got clearances from various authorities through dubious means.

The 31-storey building with 103 flats was built on prime defence land in alleged violation of rules. The building was originally meant to be a six-storey structure.