In his affidavit to the inquiry commission probing the Adarsh scam, Union rural development minister and former state chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has refused to accept any responsibility for decisions taken on the controversial housing society.
Pointing a finger instead at bureaucrats and other government officials, Deshmukh said his approvals were based on the unanimous agreement of experienced officers in the government hierarchy and he could not be blamed for them.
This is likely to add to the troubles of former urban development department secretary, Ramanand Tiwari and former secretary to the chief minister, Subhash Lalla, who played important roles in putting up and reviewing these proposals. Both Tiwari and Lalla are already under the scanner, as their family members own flats in the Colaba tower.
Regarding ownership of the Adarsh land, Deshmukh, like his cabinet colleague, Union power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, said it belongs to the state government. “Ownership of the land was never in question and had never been reserved for housing defence personnel or Kargil war heroes”, the affidavit states.
Deshmukh’s affidavit also defended the two controversial decisions taken during his tenure – reducing the proposed width of Captain Prakash Pethe Marg and deleting reservation of a BEST depot to benefit Adarsh, saying they had been made for “good reasons” and in accordance with the law.
Deshmukh has also shrugged off responsibility in the allotment of the land saying it was the “function of the revenue department”. He has pointed out that the onus of preparing the proposal as well as scrutinising applications lay with the collector.