The two-member inquiry commission set up by the state government to probe the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam began its hearings on Monday by slamming officials for their “casual approach” to the investigation. Some departments failed to submit the documents required or submitted them in a haphazard manner.
The Colaba housing society is being probed for violation of construction and environmental norms. The society has as its members military commanders, politicians, bureaucrats and their relatives.
It was alleged that bureaucrats and politicians used their positions to push through clearances in return for flats at throwaway rates.
“How much time does it take to bring files? Government officials should be responsible, not casual in their approach,” said retired high court judge JA Patil, who heads the commission.
The commission summoned 11 parties of which six — the chief secretary, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the district collector, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the environment department and general officer commanding in chief of the Southern Command — were asked to submit documents.
Chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad, who did not appear before the commission, had asked all 27 departments in the secretariat to submit documents related to Adarsh. Of the 27 departments, eight have files related to the scam and the representatives of seven appeared before the commission.
However, barring the BMC, all other departments either sought more time to submit the documents or had not indexed and certified the copies.
MMRDA’s town planner, who represented the agency, faced the commission’s ire for not indexing 13 files submitted as evidence and being clueless about what was in them.
Later, as it emerged that most of the documents were not indexed, justice (retd) Patil said: “In Mantralaya, files don’t seem to be indexed so that any paper can be taken away without any one knowing.”
He was referring to the papers that have gone missing from the urban development department.
MMRDA officials, apart those of the school education, home and public works departments, were asked to sit in the commission office and index the documents immediately.
Some departments have till next week to submit the documents.
The commission was set up in January to probe the scam with reference to specific issues, such as land ownership, reservation of the plot, town planning and coastal violations and the role of public servants.
The commission is expected to submit its report by June.