The interim report of the Adarsh commission that reportedly sides with the state’s claim over land ownership may allow some breathing space to politicians, defence officials and bureaucrats accused of violating norms in the construction of the Colaba high-rise.
However, it is unlikely to put a lid on the scam, and a long legal battle lies ahead for those in the dock.
This is because, besides the judicial commission, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate are also probing the case, and these investigations are being monitored by the Bombay high court.
The report, however, does portend well for former chief ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde, Ashok Chavan and Vilasrao Deshmukh, who for the past two years have been living with the taint of helping usurp defence land, and perhaps also the six army officials named in the FIR filed by the CBI.
“If the report says the land belongs to the state government, then the obvious argument will be that Adarsh is no different from tens of similar housing societies allotted by the government under its revenue department norms to legislators and officials,” said a senior bureaucrat.
It is also learnt that the members of the controversial society will seek legal relief if the interim report is favourable, demanding that CBI investigations be stayed since the Adarsh case is now officially a ‘state subject’.
Besides the two issues dealt with in the interim report — land ownership and reservation — the panel will now give judgment on 11 others, which include the role of public servants and irregularities in giving clearances to the society.