Promoters of Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society had initially set their eyes on a 10,000 sq mt plot that lies in the inter-tidal zone at Colaba. The plan was to acquire the plot from the state government in 1999 and reclaim the land.
Since the land is part of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), the plan was stalled by the environment department in 2007 and the society shifted focus to the plot on which it now stands.
The promoters wrote to Ashok Chavan, who was then revenue minister, seeking allotment of the plot in the inter-tidal zone. The letter dated January 13, 2000, said the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had asked the promoters to get the classification of the plot changed from CRZ 1 (most eco-sensitive) to CRZ 2 (development allowed, but with restrictions) from the state.
“While the changing of zones may take time… we have an alternate proposal for allotment of a small plot measuring only 3,854 sq mt…,” stated the letter. It added that the land was in the possession of local military authorities. This is where the 31-storey tower stands today.
The promoters said the military authorities were willing to allow the society if some flats were reserved for Army welfare, that is, a girls’ hostel for relatives of Army officials.
Another letter to Chavan in June 2000 sought his help to “accommodate and reward our heroes of the Kargil operation…,” said the letter. It insinuated that Chavan requested that civilians be allowed.
Chavan flatly denied this. “I made no such recommendation. This proposal was being considered before I became revenue minister. I was neither revenue minister nor CM when the land was allotted [in July 2004],” Chavan said. Sushilkumar Shinde was CM then.