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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Maharashtra govt spent Rs. 7.04 crore on Adarsh commission over 2 years

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, November 01, 2013
First Published: 08:39 IST(1/11/2013) | Last Updated: 08:59 IST(1/11/2013)

The state government spent Rs. 7.04 crore on the Adarsh commission, which worked for around two years in probing the irregularities surrounding the infamous tower in Colaba.

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This was revealed in the reply to a Right To Information (RTI) application filed by an activist.

The amount works out to a per-day expense of Rs83,605.

The expenditure includes the cost on establishment of the panel, payments made to the counsels, and logistics provided to the commission, which worked for 842 days till April 18, 2013, the day on which it submitted its 691page report to the government.

The report is yet to be tabled in the state assembly.

“The legal fee for lawyers was substantial and it is surprising why different departments and agencies of the same government appointed different counsels and advocates,” said Anil Galgali, who filed the RTI application.

The largest chunk of the expenditure — Rs3.97 crore — was towards the remuneration of counsels and lawyers. A senior counsel was paid Rs1.15 lakh per appearance, while four lawyers were paid Rs40,000 and Rs25,000 per appearance.

The expenditure also includes the monthly fee paid to two counsels appointed on per manent basis between January 2011 and April 2013.

Senior counsel Dipan Merchant was paid Rs1.48 crore, while junior counsel Bharat Jhaveri was paid Rs17.90 lakh.

The remunerations were paid by various departments of the state government.

Led by retired high court judge JA Patil, the commission comprised former state chief secretary PA Subrahmanyam and 14 government employees.

The expenditure on the salaries of these 14 employees appointed on deputation between January 2011 and April 2013 was Rs1.88 crore.

The MMRDA, which granted commencement and occupation certificates to the Adarsh society, bore Rs1.02 crore of the total expenditure.

The share was towards the setting up of the office premises at Old Customs, salary of the staff, stationery expenditure and the expenditure on three vehicles allotted to members and secretary of the commission.

The information also reveals that the urban development department is yet to pay Rs1 crore to t he counsels and towards other expenditure.

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