There seems to be no end to the controversy surrounding Colaba’s Adarsh housing society. For the second time, files related to the 31-storey tower have gone missing, this time from the office of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in New Delhi.
A senior official from the Central Bureau of Investigation, Mumbai, said the missing documents contained correspondence between the Maharashtra government and the ministry regarding environmental clearance for the controversial building.
The CBI learnt of the disappearance when a team visited the ministry’s office in New Delhi last week, seeking copies of the correspondence. “We have asked the ministry's officials to file a formal complaint and state in writing that the file is untraceable, after which we will decide on a further course of action,” a CBI officer said.
In Delhi, an MoEF official confirmed that a 2002 file on Adarsh had gone missing, but insisted that it had been able to reconstruct the contents.
Last year, some files pertaining to the society went missing from the Maharashtra Urban Development Department (UDD) office. Three UDD officials were arrested in the case.
Unlike those files, MoEF officials said the latest batch of missing documents did not contain any decisions, only file notings that culminated in the Centre advising the state government to handle the Adarsh request under the Coastal Regulation Zone notification of 1991.
The housing society, where senior ministers and bureaucrats have been allotted flats at highly subsidised rates, was originally meant to be a six-storey housing project for war widows and veterans.