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The Supreme Court has ordered de-freezing of three bank accounts belonging to the controversial Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society based in Mumbai.

A bench comprising Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul passed this order in response to a writ petition by the Society challenging an order dated September 16, 2016, passed by the CBI special judge. Minakshi Arora represented the Society.

The CBI opposed the petition, saying it would hamper investigations.

The Adarsh scam was unearthed in November 2010 which forced the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan, to resign. In 2011, a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) said, “The episode of Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society reveals how a group of select officials, placed in key posts, could subvert rules and regulations in order to grab prime government land—a public property—for personal benefit.”

In January 2011, the Maharashtra government set up a two-member judicial commission to inquire into the matter. The commission was headed by retired high court judge Justice JA Patil, with NN Kumbhar acting as member secretary. After taking the statements of 182 witnesses over two years, the commission submitted its final report in April 2013 to the Maharashtra government. The report highlighted 25 illegal allotments, including 22 purchases made by proxy. The report also indicted four former chief ministers of Maharashtra Chavan, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde and Shivajirao Nilangekar Patil, two former urban development ministers: Rajesh Tope and Sunil Tatkare and 12 top bureaucrats for various illegal acts. The allotees included Devyani Khobragade.

The CBI, income tax department and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are currently investigating allegations that Shinde, Deshmukh and Chavan were involved in the scam.

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