PV Deshmukh, former deputy secretary of the state’s urban development department and an accused in the Adarsh society scam, could be in more trouble because of the clearance he gave in 2002 for the redevelopment of the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium (SVPS) in Worli.
The permission was given to the National Sports Club of India (NSCI).
Deshmukh’s name cropped up on Friday during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) before the Bombay High Court.
The PIL was filed in April by the NGO Society for Promotion of Equality, Awareness and Rights, and alleges that state and civic officials connived with the NSCI and granted permissions for the redevelopment, which violates the Environment Protection Act, the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules and the Development Control (DC) regulations.
On Friday, the court was told that Deshmukh granted the permission for the redevelopment and construction of the stadium in November 2002, when he was a deputy secretary with the urban development department.
Owen Menezes, the NGO’s advocate, argued that Deshmukh gave permission without acquiring clearance from the Union environment ministry and the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority.
“Deshmukh misused his power in the government office,” Menezes alleged.
Incidentally, Deshmukh is alleged to have helped Adarsh society in getting clearances.
The PIL states that the stadium, which was meant to be a recreation ground, falls in the green zone category as per the sanctioned development plan of 2001.
“After the redevelopment, the stadium, which was 3.5 lakh sq ft earlier, has been reduced to a substantially smaller ground, making it impossible for sports activities to be held there,” the PIL has claimed. “The NSCI has usurped the land under the guise of redevelopment. The club has constructed two buildings in the stadium, entry to which is allowed only for their members.”
The PIL asks for the structure to be demolished by the civic body and demands a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the approvals given. The next court hearing is on June 24.