A senior official of the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) said the controversial Adarsh society procured the Commencement Certificate (CC) from it on the basis of the No Objection Certificate (NOC) it was in possession of with reference to the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ).
Deposing before the two-member commission appointed by the state government to probe the scam, MMRDA official Pradeep Yadav, a senior town planner, said the decision was taken on the basis of this CRZ reference.
Yadav, who made the statement on the basis of this reference dated March 15, 2003, said, “In the light of the contents of the letter, the decision to consider that as a CRZ clearance and accordingly process the building permission was approved of by the then Metropolitan Commissioner (MC).”
The MC at that time was SV Joshi.
Deshmukh was being cross-examined by advocate Nitin Pradhan, counsel for PV Deshmukh, who was former deputy secretary of the UDD. Deshmukh was accused of allegedly misinterpreting the letter issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), which was shown as the green signal to this controversial project.
However, Yadav stated that the March 15, 2003 letter was valid. “According to me the letter can be considered as an NOC from the CRZ point of view,” Yadav said.
He also denied that the MoEF’s letter was misconstrued as a CRZ clearance under the 1991 CRZ notification by the MMRDA.
The Adarsh scam grabbed headlines when it came to light that a nexus of bureaucrats, army officials and politicians colluded to secure plush apartments in the upmarket Colaba area.
The then chief minister Ashok Chavan had to quit when it came to light that his kin had secured apartments in this 31-storey tower.