The Adarsh housing society scam continues to generate controversy. On Friday, the government tabled in the Assembly the final report of the judicial commission that probed the scam, but rejected its findings of wrongdoing by four chief minister and a dozen bureaucrats.
The BJP-led Opposition threatened to move the courts against this.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan chose not to react when asked why the government rejected the report of a commission it had appointed.
"It is a cabinet decision and I cannot discuss it outside."
The 691-page report submitted by the commission, comprising Justice (retired) JA Patil and former state chief secretary P Subramanyam, came down heavily on the way various permissions were given to the housing society of politicians, bureaucrats and defence officers.
"It is a shameless tale of blatant violations of statutory provisions, rules and regulations. It reflects greed, nepotism and favouritism on the part of some people who were in one way or the other associated with Adarsh," the report said.
It said the 31-storey tower in Colaba enjoyed the political patronage of four former chief ministers — late Vilasrao Deshmukh, Ashok Chavan, Sushilkumar Shinde and Shivajirao Nilangekar (all from Congress)— and two NCP leaders, Sunil Tatkare and Rajesh Tope.
The commission passed strictures against Ashok Chavan who had to quit as chief minister after it came to the light that three of his relatives were members of the Adarsh housing society.
"There is certainly a nexus established between the acts of Chavan and the benefit derived by his close relatives in the form of membership of Adarsh."
The Governor, K Sankaranayaran, had recently refused permission to the CBI to prosecute Chavan in the case. It also passed strictures against Deshmukh , Shinde and Nilangekar-Patil for the decisions taken by them with regard to Adarsh.
The commission also asked the government to probe the issue of benami ownership of 22 flats in Adarsh. These include nine flats financed by a company owned by Abhay Sancheti, brother of BJP MP, Ajay Sancheti.
The state government rejected the findings saying it did not agree with them.
In its one-page action taken report, it accepted the first report of the commission tabled in the Legislature last April, which concluded that the plot of land under Adarsh belonged to the state and not the defence ministry. It also said the land in question or membership of Adarsh was not reserved for defence personnel or Kargil war heroes.
The commission’s final report said Ashok Chavan, former state assembly Speaker, Babasaheb Kupekar, and five others had granted permissions in exchange for flats. It also indicted 12 bureaucrats for violating service conduct rules.
The commission concluded that legal provisions were not followed while reducing the width of a proposed 60-metre road to 42 metres for Adarsh, nor was it in the public interest. Proper procedure was not followed either while changing the reservation of an adjoining plot earmarked for Best. The BJP-led Opposition accused the government of shielding those who played a role in Adarsh.
"The commission was appointed under the Commission of Inquiries Act. It has some legal status. We are planning to approach the courts to challenge the government’s decision to reject the report," said Opposition Leader Eknath Khadse. He also threatened an agitation if the government did not act against those indicted in the report.