Not only pages, even the ‘index’ in the file related to Adarsh Housing Society at Colaba is missing.
The Mumbai police crime branch, which is investigating the disappearance of four pages from the file, was surprised to find that the index too was missing.
Every government file contains an index of the subjects inside so as to make the task of search easy. Moreover, an indexed file rules out possibility of any manipulation.
The file pertains to two controversial decisions on the Adarsh society — reducing the width of the approach road to the building and changing the status of the land from reserved to residential.
Crime branch sources said: “In fact, every noting on these two issues are missing.”
Now, in the absence of the index, the investigators are in a catch-22 situation.
“An index is like an indicator to the contents inside. In the absence of the index, it is almost impossible to know what the original file contained and what all documents are missing from it,” a source said, adding that in the absence of any duplicate of the file, many facts may be buried forever.
However, the missing index could also be a genuine lapse. “We have to go through the other files related to Adarsh society in the urban development department to know whether they too contained indexes,” a source said.
Senior crime branch officials, including joint commissioner Himanshu Roy and additional commissioner Deven Bharati, however, refused to comment on the investigation.
On Monday, senior crime branch officials had paid a visit to the urban development department (UDD).
The crime branch had learnt that the file had passed at least 10 desks (from junior clerks in the urban development and environment departments to the chief minister’s office) since 2003.
It was kept in the record shelf only after the remarks and actions on the same were made and the project was given a go ahead.
On Saturday, the UDD had lodged a complaint with the Marine Drive police station after it came to light that crucial file notings were found missing from a file on the project.
Four pages — numbers 15, 27, 99 and 279 — of the 2003 file, containing notings and signatures of then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and department secretary Ramanand Tiwari, have been reported to be missing.