The Adarsh commission set up to probe irregularities in the Colaba housing society scam is costing the state government dearly. The government is paying around Rs 2 lakh a day for senior counsels to represent their stand before the inquiry commission.
The revenue department is paying senior advocate Anil Sakhare Rs 1.15 lakh a day for effective hearing (where he appears). Sakhare’s charge per day for non-effective hearing (where he may not examine any witness) is Rs 55,000 and his consultancy fee per hour is Rs 7,500. Other than Sakhare, the government is also paying for a senior counsel for the commission.
The general administration department is paying advocate Dipan Merchant Rs 40,000 and advocate Bharat Jhaveri Rs 5,000 a day in fees. The commission members are being paid an honorarium of Rs 1.60 lakh a month. On an average, the daily expenses of the commission (a conservative estimate) would be around Rs 2 lakh.
The commission has already got an extension of three months – up to July 7 – and another extension or two may be needed before it wraps up the probe and comes out with a report. This means the state government could end up spending Rs 24 lakh a month until the hearing ends.
The revenue department finalised Sakhare’s appointment and fees through a government resolution on May 4. “The government needs a senior advocate to present its stance before the commission. It was a decision that has been thought through and only then was Sakhare appointed. Though Sakhare has been appointed through the revenue department, it was decided that he would be the senior counsel for the government in toto,” said Swadheen Kshatriya, principal secretary of the revenue department.
However, departments like the Urban Development and Environment have appointed separate junior counsels to represent their case.