Mumbai, Dec 22: The Bombay High Court on Friday rejected Maharashtra governor’s sanction to prosecute former Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan in Adarsh Scam. The court reportedly said that there was not enough evidence against Ashok Chavan. “The sanctioning authority is an independent body that can’t allow itself to be influenced by anyone’s opinion,” the court said. The Adarsh scam had forced Chavan to step down as the Maharashtra chief minister.

A bench comprising  Justices Ranjit More and Sadhana Jadhav had been hearing a petition filed by Chavan challenging Governor C Vidyasagar Rao’s decision to grant sanction to CBI to prosecute him in the Adarsh scam calling it “arbitrary, illegal and unjust”. In February 2016, the Maharashtra governor had allowed CBI to prosecute Chavan under relevant sections of IPC and various provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act including sections 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating).

In April 2016, C Vidyasagar Rao had given sanction to prosecute Ashok Chavan for cheating in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society case. In 2013, the previous governor K Shankarnarayanan had declined sanction to prosecute Chavan even though the CBI named him an accused in an FIR.

Chavan’s counsel Amit Desai had earlier alleged that the sanction, passed in 2016, was not based on any fresh investigation and hence, was faulty. He had also argued that sanction to prosecute was “politically motivated”. The Congress party had also alleged that the BJP-led state government sought to reopen the sanction without any fresh details against Chavan.

Chavan is accused of approving additional floor space index (FSI) for the Adarsh society in south Mumbai in return for two flats for his relatives when he was the CM of Maharashtra. Chavan is also accused of illegally approving the allotment of 40 per cent of flats to civilians meant for defence personnel.

The development has come as another sigh of relief for the Congress party after all the accused in the 2G scam were acquitted by a special CBI.