Union Minister for Environment and Forests (MoEF) Jairam Ramesh said some decision following the reply sent by Adarsh society and state environment department will be taken on Monday.
“We will be taking further decisions tomorrow considering the legal aspects. This will be based on the replies sent to us by the society and state,” Ramesh said after a press conference in Mumbai on Sunday. The minister was in the city to announce the Centre’s clearance for the Jaitapur power project at Ratnagiri.
Ramesh’s announcement comes a day after the state’s urban development department lodged a police complaint saying crucial file notings and signatures of then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and department secretary Ramanand Tiwari were missing from one of the files on the project. Tiwari’s son owns a flat in the 31-storeyed tower.
The Mumbai crime branch will investigate the case of the missing pages - numbers 15, 27, 99 and 279 - of the 2003 file that okayed two controversial decisions on the project, reducing the width of the public road leading to the building to accommodate the structure and changing the status of the land from reserved to residential.
Joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy confirmed that the first information report filed in the case has been transferred from Marine Drive police station to the crime branch and said investigations will begin today.
The MoEF had issued a show-cause notice to the controversial Colaba society for not taking relevant environmental clearances. The tower, promoted as a project for war veterans and their families, ended up being owned by top navy, army commanders, bureaucrats and politicians.
The show-cause notice asked the state government and the society why the building should not be demolished following violations. Following the notice, the state environment department wrote to the MoEF admitting to environmental violations but the society has sent a strong reply to the ministry questioning the legality of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, and the Coastal Regulation Zone rules, 1991.
Deputy commissioner of police (Zone I) Cherring Dorje told the HT that the other documents missing were records of correspondence between then deputy secretary of the department PV Deshmukh and the environment ministry. It was on the basis of these documents that the department claimed that the project had environmental clearances.
The environment ministry recently declared Adarsh illegal since the promoters had not approached the Centre for coastal zone clearance.