Retired judge justice JA Patil will look into the allegations of irregularity and illegality in allotments under the chief minister’s housing quota and submit a report to the Bombay high court (HC) by April 30 next year.
The court on Thursday appointed Patil, who had previously conducted an inquiry into the Adarsh society scam, to scrutinise the allotments and make recommendations for action in cases where illegalities have been committed.
The CM has two quotas – 2% of the houses built by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada), and 5% of those built under the Urban Land Ceiling Act.
The division bench of justice AS Oka and justice GS Kulkarni was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by former scribe Ketan Tirodkar that alleged that several politicians and their kin had been given flats more than once under the quota, by failing to reveal if they were related to people who had already been allotted flats.
The state government has been directed to make available to the judge records going back to 1982, including all applications made, and orders passed while allotting flats. The court noted that it was a question of “valuable property vesting in the state” and that though the state had taken steps to identify illegal allotments and pursue action “the exercise required to be done has not been done”.
The retired judge will begin work on December 1, with help provided by two senior government officers. “More than 20 cases of illegal allotments have been identified,” said the court. “If the judge finds other cases of illegal allotments, the judge is entitled to make recommendations on the manner in which action can be taken by the state government, including setting criminal law into motion.”
The court clarified however, that “notwithstanding this order, the state government shall take all possible steps regarding illegal allotments” including cancelling the allotments, repossessing the flats or taking criminal action.
The court referred to at least 10 cases of illegal allotments already identified by the state. “These affidavit which point out only a few cases, justify the petitioner’s contention that there appear to be large irregularities and illegalities in allotment of flats under the discretionary quota,” the court said.
The matter will next be heard on May 5, 2015, after the report is submitted.