Newly appointed chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad, when he was the commissioner of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), refused to take note of the navy’s objections to Adarsh society being given an occupation certificate.
The Colaba building is under the scanner for allegedly violating environmental norms and giving bureaucrats and politicians flats in return for clearances.
In a letter from Chief Staff Officer (P&A) for the Flag officer Commanding-in-chief Commodore Satish Bajaj on June 25, 2010, the Western Naval Command had raised concerns about the tower being located close to vital defence installations.
According to the letter, a copy of which is with the Hindustan Times, the WNC wanted to screen the list of the society’s members. Bajaj had also asked the MMRDA to withhold the OC.
The society dismissed the navy’s request saying the state government and city collector had verified and approved the members, further verification by the navy could be over-stepping the right of propriety. Quoting from the society’s explanation, Gaikwad replied to the navy on September 29, 2010, saying: “…It is felt that after completion of the building, basic issues may not be raised.”
Repeated attempts to get in touch with Gaikwad failed. A defence spokesperson said, “We’ll have to go through this correspondence, before commenting on it.” MMRDA sources said the defence should have addressed its queries to the state or collector. Sources also said the MMRDA did not receive any objections from the navy until all 31 floors of the building were constructed.
Right To Information activist Yogcharya Anandji, whose documents unearthed the Adarsh scam, said: “The MMRDA, under Gaikwad, has always abetted the crime that the society committed. How can the chief minister make him the CS then?”