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Judicial panel to examine all Adarsh irregularities

The two-member committee that will conduct a judicial probe into the Adarsh housing society scam will have to inquire into a wide range of irregularities alleged against the controversial tower.

mumbai Updated: Jan 09, 2011 00:52 IST
Ketaki Ghoge

The two-member committee that will conduct a judicial probe into the Adarsh housing society scam will have to inquire into a wide range of irregularities alleged against the controversial tower.

The scope of the inquiry for former high court judge JA Patil and former chief secretary P Subrahmanyam will range from ascertaining ownership of the plot to examining the role of 21 state officials linked to the scam, town planning and coastal violations.

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who made the announcement on Saturday, said the judicial probe would look into issues of ownership of the plot of the housing society and also find out whether the plot or any of the flats in the society were specifically reserved for Kargil heroes or war veterans.

This contention over ownership has been at the centre of the controversy.

The other agenda before the committee is to look into the role of public servants. This includes nearly 21 state officials as well as politicians who are under the scanner for owning a flat in their own name or in the name of their kin in the Colaba tower. It also includes officials and politicians, who granted clearances to the society, in contravention of existing laws.

Bureaucrats under the scanner include former civic chief Jairaj Phatak, former city collectors Pradeep Vyas, IA Kundan, former secretary to the chief minister, CS Sangitrao, and former BEST general manager Uttam Khobragade.

Chavan said, “The role of the public servants, their conduct and any violation of government norms will be ascertained by the committee.”

Sources in the government said, “Public servants include politicians and refers to anyone holding public office and as such technically the committee can scrutinise the roles of former chief ministers too.”

Politicians under the scanner would mainly include three former chief ministers during whose tenures, between 2004 and 2010, the building was constructed.

These include former chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde and Ashok Chavan. Chavan had to resign after it came to light that his mother-in-law and two other relatives have flats in the 31-storey tower.

Under the inquiry, all of them can be summoned and asked to give evidence on affidavits on their role and link to the scam.

The committee will also look into violations like how the road width of Prakash Pethe Marg (on which the building has been constructed) was reduced to make way for the society, how an adjoining BEST plot was de-reserved for the society and its FSI transferred to the building, how height regulations were bypassed and coastal regulations violated. These violations allowed a six-storey building initially promoted for war veterans to mushroom into 31 storeys filled with top politicians, senior defence and state officials.