The Opposition said it was unhappy with the two-member panel probe announced by the state government into the Adarsh scam.
Opposition leader Eknath Khadse said Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan wanted to shield two Union ministers and therefore rejected the opposition's demand for an inquiry by a joint committee of the state legislature.
“Two former chief ministers, who played a role in allotting land and giving more FSI are now Union ministers. The probe committee cannot summon them. That is why we wanted a legislature committee, which could examine their roles as well,” Khadse said. His targets were former chief minister Ashok Chavan’s predecessors Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushilkumar Shinde.
“In 1997, the society's application had been rejected during the Sena-BJP government's rule by the then chief minister Manohar Joshi. But, later successive chief ministers showed interest in it. Even the then revenue minister Shivajirao Nilangekar conducted meetings for the same,” added Khadse.
According to the opposition leader, one of the CMs even over-ruled two junior ministers — Sunil Tatkare and Rajesh Tope — who had taken objections and gave FSI of an adjoining BEST plot to Adarsh. “During Shinde's tenure the cost of the land was reduced from Rs10 crore to Rs6 crore,” alleged Khadse.
He also took strong objection to the urban development department's decision in 2003 to reduce the width of an adjoining road from 60 metres to 18 metres to give land to Adarsh society. He sought to know why the government had ignored objections raised by then managing director of MSRDC, Ajit Nimbalkar, who had pointed out that the road was meant to connect a proposed water transport terminal.
Legislator Devendra Phadn-avis described the decision to reduce the road as a criminal offence.
Khadse also came down heavily on bureaucrats, saying that they should face stern action for their roles. He said joint director of planning PV Deshmukh should be suspended immediately and booked for criminal offence as he had played a major role in giving clearances to Adarsh.
In the legislative council, too, leader of the opposition Pandurang Fundkar said Chavan’s resignation as chief minister for his alleged involvement in the scam was not enough and a thorough probe by a joint legislative committee was very important.
NCP legislator Jitendra Awhad, who is also a member of Adarsh, said he was not involved in getting any clearances for the society. He demanded that the government reveal the entire information about land given to 12,000 housing societies in Mumbai in the past 20 years.