Union minister for heavy industries and former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh is likely to face the heat in the ongoing Adarsh Housing Society scam.
The inquiry commission has summoned Deshmukh as witness. He has been given time till May 23 to file his affidavit.
Deshmukh, who was the chief minister of the state from 1999 to 2003 and from 2004 to December 2008, was incharge of the urban development department (UDD) that cleared files pertaining to Adarsh.
The two decisions taken by the UDD that allowed Adarsh to soar to 31 storeys include reducing and changing reservation of the Captain Prakash Pethe Marg (on which the tower now stands) and deleting reservation of a plot meant for the BEST.
Former UDD secretary and suspended information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari in his affidavit filed before the two-member inquiry commission said the decisions pertaining to Adarsh had the approval of the minister concerned (Deshmukh).
When contacted, Deshmukh told HT, “I cannot comment off-hand on this issue. I will have to go through the records. I don’t have access to the affidavit. However, in the UDD, files do get cleared by the minister.”
Tiwari’s affidavit states: “The processing of file starts with the desk officer. It finally goes to the minister of the department concerned for approval. It is thus a collective process. I say that the file of Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society has followed the same route.’’
Tiwari said he had processed the society’s application seeking floor space index of the adjoining BEST plot in 2005 by sending the file to the CM with two recommendations.
The recommendations were that the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the planning authority for Backbay Reclamation, should be issued direction under Section 37 (1) of the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act to initiate the process and the society would have to get the areas merged.
However, the CM sent the file back asking whether it was necessary to initiate the process. After this, the issue was re-examined and the decision was taken to issue notification under another section of the Act without involving the MMRDA.