The two-member judicial commission, which probed the Adarsh scam and whose report was tabled in state legislature and rejected by the government on Friday, has come down heavily on Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and former chief minister Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar, both Congress leaders, for showing “undue haste” in allotting the Cuffe Parade plot to the society.
The plot was allotted to Adarsh in 2004 when Shinde was CM and Patil Nilangekar was revenue minister in his Cabinet.
“The commission is of the opinion that undue haste was shown by Patil Nilangekar in approval of grant of land to Adarsh CHS without authority. Shinde failed to pay due attention to the suggestion made by the finance department [which opposed the allotment]. The least we can say is that the entire issue smacks of undue haste and desire to bestow benefit to the society,” the commission remarked in its report.
Shinde was CM from January 2003 to November 2004, while Patil Nilangekar was revenue minister from January 2003 to July 2004.
When the file for land allotment went to the finance department for its nod in May 2004, it opposed the proposal stating that the policy on eligibility criteria of housing society members for such land allotments was being reviewed.
Only 20 of the 71 proposed members of Adarsh society were eligible, it pointed out, suggesting that the government take the proposal to the state Cabinet if it still wanted to allot the land.
The file was once again referred to the finance department in June 2004 and it reiterated its stand, which was approved by then finance minister Jayant Patil.
The file was then sent to Patil Nilangekar, who ruled that 3,758.82 square metre land be allotted to Adarsh at a value of Rs 10,19,19,652. This noting was also signed by Shinde, the report said.
The approval for the letter of land allotment was subject to seven conditions, one of which was that the land be handed over after verifying the eligibility of at least 71 members. In his statement before the commission, Shinde argued that he did not approve the file immediately and insisted on verification of eligibility of 51 members.
The right move was to have placed the proposal before Cabinet for approval, the commission said. It is surprising to find that the suggestion given by the finance department was ignored and Patil Nilangekar granted approval for allotment of land to Adarsh on July 2, 2004, which in turn was okayed by Shinde and the allotment letter issued on July 9, 2004, the report said.
It pointed out that the initial letter of intent (indicating the government’s intent to give land) was issued before Shinde became CM.