Mumbai/New Delhi: Another Union Minister from Maharashtra, Vilasrao Deshmukh, has been questioned by the CBI in connection with the multi-crore rupees Adarsh Housing scam, as he had dealt with files pertaining to the society during his tenure as Chief Minister of the state.

The statement of Deskhmukh, at present Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, was recorded a few weeks as a "witness", official sources said here.

Deshmukh declined to say anything when contacted for his reaction on the statement recorded by the CBI. "I have nothing to say," he said.

During his tenure as the chief minister, Deshmukh, who was also heading Urban Development Department, gave approval to a proposal made by the society seeking deletion of an adjoining land reserved for BEST and change it to residential type.

In his affidavit before a Commission probing the Adarsh scam, Deshmukh had said the allotment of adjoining land to Adarsh was subject to various conditions.

One of the conditions was that since the land was subject to a reservation for a BEST depot, this reservation ought to be changed to residential. Only thereafter could the FSI of the plot be released or made available.

"The reservation was changed for good reason and by following the procedure prescribed under MRTP and issuing a notification in 2006.

"Interests of BEST was protected and access rights of BEST over the land were preserved. BEST has not raised objection in the last six years and public interest has not been compromised and no loss caused to exchequer," Deshmukh said.

The agency, which had registered a case against 14 people including former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, had on July 31 recorded the statement of another Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.

Both Shinde and Deshmukh, at present Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, had dealt with files and passed proposals pertaining to the 31-storey plush
building in south Mumbai, which was allegedly granted permissions after flouting rules and regulations.

CBI, which registered an FIR in January, is likely to file charge sheet against the 14 accused soon. The Bombay High Court had directed the agency to expedite its investigations and submit charge sheet at the earliest.

(Agencies)