Mumbai: Maharashtra's ruling BJP and the opposition Congress and the NCP engaged in a verbal duel after Governor C.V. Rao gave the green signal to the CBI to prosecute former chief minister Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh Society scam on Thursday.
While Chavan, who is the state Congress president, cried foul over the move, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis justified the sanction to prosecute him and rejected charges of vendetta.
Fadnavis said the government had sought the opinion of the state advocate general and he clearly said "such permission should be and could be granted".
In view of fresh evidence which have come up in the case, the CBI sent a request seeking permission to prosecute Chavan and the governor forwarded it to the state cabinet, which recommended to the governor to act as per the opinion of the advocate general, Fadnavis pointed out.
Accusing the ruling BJP of adopting a "vindictive attitude", Chavan questioned how could the opinion of a new governor change with a new government (BJP-Shiv Sena alliance) taking power in the state.
He said the earlier governor (K. Sankaranarayanan) had taken a conscious stand in December 2013 after consulting the highest legal authorities and said he could not issue the sanction to the CBI for prosecution.
Later, the CBI had moved the Bombay High Court to drop Chavan's name from the chargesheet, but now the same probe agency makes a U-turn in 2016, which is nothing but "political pressure on CBI", Chavan said.
He said the report of the two-member commission of inquiry had made it clear that there was no reservation of the plot for any army personnel and that the land belonged to the state government.
Chavan alleged that the issue was reopened under pressure from the BJP and its functioneries with a view to pursue political vendetta against the opposition parties and leaders.
Leader of Opposition in the legislative council Dhananjay Munde, of the Nationalist Congress Party, regretted the development and said the government was trying to finish off the opposition and was misusing the CBI for political reasons.
Condemning the development, Congress leader and legislative council member Sanjay Dutt termed it as the "BJP's vendetta politics to throttle the Opposition expose of their misdoings".