Former municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak on Wednesday defended handling the files pertaining to the controversial Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society (CHS) even though his son was a member of the society.
He admitted, however, that he had failed to inform the chief secretary of the state that his son Kanishka had taken membership of the society.
Deposing before the two-member commission instituted to probe the irregularities in Adarsh society, Phatak said on Wednesday that he had handled files regarding Adarsh CHS during his tenure from 2007-09. He said: “I was aware that my son was a member of the Adarsh society. During the said period, I have handled the file of the Adarsh CHS as a municipal commissioner. I did not think it necessary to recuse myself from the file of Adarsh CHS on the ground that my son was a member”. He cited the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, Rule 4 (3) (a) to back his claim.
Denying the claim by the commission’s counsel Dipan Merchant that it was like granting a favour to the Adarsh society since his son was a member, Phatak said: “If the order does not benefit my son in particular, then it is neither an offence nor misconduct.”
Going by that argument, he said, even approving a road in front of a relative’s house or supplying water to his building would become an offence of misconduct.
Phatak is alleged to have approved the increase in the height of the building to 107 metres from the initial 97 metres in September 2007.