The list of the accused in the Adarsh scam, revealed when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) submitted its first information report in court on Tuesday, has created ripples in Mantralaya even as most of the accused chose to remain silent on it.
The CBI had named four Indian Administrative Services officials and one state-level official among the accused. It is for the first time in the state’s history that several serving and retired officers have been booked in a case of misuse of office.
Suspended information commissioner, Ramanand Tiwari, former state human rights commission member Subhash Lalla, finance secretary Pradeep Vyas, former deputy secretary of urban development PV Deshmukh, and former civic chief Jairaj Phatak are among the accused.
The CBI has sought permission from the Centre to prosecute Phatak, because he is the chairman of the Rural Electrification Board, a central government undertaking. Most of the officials named in the FIR were unavailable for comment.
Phatak told the Hindustan Times that he had made his stand clear in an affidavit filed before the Bombay high court in January in response to a public interest litigation. “The case is sub-judice. I have said what I had to in my affidavit before the court with reference to clearing the high rise committee’s decision to increase the height of the building,” he said.
Phatak’s affidavit denied charges of misuse of powers to grant additional floors to the 31-storey Adarsh tower. His affidavit said that his son, Kanishka, had been allotted a flat in the tower in 2004 when he was posted in the education department and at that time, the BMC had not granted Adarsh any favours.
Phatak has earlier said that his son’s flat, valued at Rs74 lakh, was funded by Phatak’s father and brother through compensation received for sale of land because they are a Hindu Undivided Family.
Other officials, whose roles have been under scanner but have not been named in the FIR, include former transport secretary CS Sangitrao, former BEST general manager Uttam Khobragade, and former Mumbai collector IA Kundan.
Kundan owns a flat in Adarsh as do Sangitrao’s son and Khobragade’s daughter. The judicial probe, announced by the state, is also expected to start this week. The two-member committee, led by former judge JA Patil, has asked people with information on Adarsh to file affidavits before it.