The fate of Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society hangs in the balance. On Friday, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan asked the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to revoke the occupation certificate issued to the 31-storey tower at Colaba.
"We are referring the matter to the Union environment ministry. I have asked MMRDA to revoke the occupation certificate till the ministry's scrutiny ends," Chavan said.
The society has been accused of environment violations and of getting the land on the promise that flats would be built for war veterans and widows but then allotting them to politicians, bureaucrats and army and navy commanders.
The society had not taken central permission to build on Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) land; there was no clearance from the state environment authority either.
The state urban development department and civic body allowed a hike in floor space index (FSI), which governs how high a structure can go, for the tower in 2007 without environment clearance. This was done by transferring the FSI of an adjoining bus depot to the society. This is also not permissible under CRZ norms.
Environment ministry sources said this amounted to "gross violation" and the building may have to be demolished.
On land ownership, Chavan said the revenue department had verified it belonged to the state and not the defence forces. Besides, in April 2000, defence authorities had written to the government saying the plot was outside their boundaries.
Asked about objections raised by the navy, Chavan said: "Why were no objections raised during the five years the construction was on? Besides, the civic body must have looked into the objections before the plan was approved."
Chavan said the controversy was politically motivated.
"Some people have specific motives and they are behind this," he insisted.