In the rush to get prime plots, often a blind eye was turned to the law. Coastal regulations were ignored, no-objection certificates were not taken and plots were dereserved. Until Adarsh, no officer faced a probe in such a case.
Take the case of Vasundhara Housing Society at Juhu, where a plot meant for constables’ houses was used to build a society of just 42 IPS officials. Or the case of Renuka Housing Society at Bandra (E), where a plot meant for people displaced by infrastructure projects was used for a society of officials and politicians. Activist Yogcharya Anandji, who sought details of Vasundhara under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, said: “It’s shocking how a few officials can corner such a plot where they don’t even reside currently.” Most of the flats, Anandji said, have been rented out.
Anandji’s RTI query revealed that former police chief MN Singh in 2001 wrote to the government that no quarters had been built there since 1975 and the only option was to allow officers to build their flats. “We are likely to loose (sic) this plot and therefore, IPS officers Co-op Hsg society may be allowed to develop the plot…,” he wrote.
The plot has 2,500 sq ft flats for the IPS officers, including many serving officers and one 26/11 hero. The plot was given to the officer at only 15 per cent of the market value.
The Opposition has sought a probe in all such cases. “We want a review of the allotment policy,” BJP leader Vinod Tawde said.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had admitted that officials were never punished for their roles in scams and that allotment norms need to be reviewed. “We cannot allow a free-for-all with bureaucrats grabbing flats. We are thinking of limiting membership of such societies to people who don’t own houses anywhere in the state,” he had said.