South Asia

Adarsh scandal: India ex-leader Ashok Chavan charged

Ashok Chavan
Image caption Mr Chavan has denied any wrongdoing

The former chief minister of India's Maharashtra state has been charged in connection with a corruption scandal involving homes for war widows.

Ashok Chavan and 13 others were charged in the scandal over the 31-storey Adarsh Society building in Mumbai.

Mr Chavan said the charges against him were "unfortunate and unexpected".

The housing project was originally for war widows, but flats were sold to politicians and military officers, allegedly at below market prices.

"There is a conspiracy by my rivals to malign me. The Adarsh issue has been blown out of proportion," Mr Chavan said after the charges were filed on Wednesday.

He also said that he was not "associated with allotment of land to the Adarsh society nor did I have anything to do with the list of its members".

Ashok Chavan resigned as chief minister after it emerged that his relatives had flats in the building.

All 14 people have been charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption.

Originally meant to be a six-storey block in an exclusive part of Mumbai, the building exceeds the maximum height allowed for buildings near the coast.

Municipal authorities disconnected the building's water and electricity supply in 2010 after it was found to have violated environmental laws.

The Adarsh Society case is one of several corruption scandals that have shaken India's government.

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