Mumbai:  The seven accused in the Adarsh Housing Society scam, including its chief promoter and former Congress MLC Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, were on Tuesday granted bail by a special court here.

The accused were directed to furnish surety of Rs five lakh each and asked to report to the CBI office in Mumbai on Tuesdays and Thursdays every week.

Of the nine accused, those who secured bail include IAS officer Pradeep Vyas, former deputy secretary in Urban Development Department P V Deshmukh, Brigadier (retd) M M Wanchoo, retired Defence Estates Officer R C Thakur, Major General (Retd) A R Kumar, Major Gen (Retd) T K Kaul and former MLC Kanhaiyyalal Gidwani.

All the accused have been charged with criminal conspiracy under IPC and various sections under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act.

The accused pleaded for bail, saying they were entitled to be released as the CBI had not filed chargesheet within the stipulated 60 days.

Opposing the bail, CBI argued that they intended to add stringent sections of IPC such as section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) and section 467 (forgery) which would attract life imprisonment for the accused. In such case the time limit for filing charge sheet would be 90 days.

Prosecutor Bharat Badami told the court that they had collected samples of signature of the accused and this had been sent for analysis. CBI is collecting evidence to prove that the accused had committed offence under sections 409 and 467 IPC.

The scam pertains to alleged irregularities in construction and allotment of apartments in the 32-storeyed high rise, originally meant for families of Kargil war heroes, in the upmarket Colaba area in south Mumbai.

Granting bail to the accused, the judge observed "this Court is not dwelling on the question of the title of the land but is looking into the offence that involves conspiracy, abetment and misuse of official position".

"How an offence is committed under section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) and 467 (forgery of valuable security and wills) is not submitted satisfactorily by the CBI," the judge observed while releasing the accused on bail.

On Monday, the CBI had told the court that it was likely to add these stringent sections of the IPC against the accused, who could get life imprisonment if convicted under it.

The Bombay High Court is monitoring the probe being conducted by CBI, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax. The next date for hearing is June 18. The CBI is likely to file chargesheet next month in this case as per the directive of the High Court.

(Agencies)

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