The state government is unlikely to take swift action against the two serving officials named by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Adarsh housing society scam despite the Bombay high court's criticism.
On Tuesday, even as the CBI made its first arrests in the case following a rap from the court, the government appeared wary of suspending the serving bureaucrats — finance secretary Pradeep Vyas and senior bureaucrat Jairaj Phatak.
Phatak is formally just a suspect because under IAS service rules naming him as an accused would require clearance from the Centre. The CBI has contended that Phatak used discretionary powers to increase the height of the controversial tower, even as his son Kanishka was a member of the society.
Vyas, former city collector, has been charged for approving false documents as proof of income submitted by members and for accepting ineligible members for which his wife, a serving IAS officer, was given membership in Adarsh.
The court had rapped the state government in a recent hearing, asking why serving officials facing a criminal complaint could not be suspended. Sources in the government, however, say action will not be taken solely on the grounds of the court's observations.
“If a senior bureaucrat has to be suspended or sacked, one has to go through the service rules and then apply the mind. Otherwise, the order will be challenged or struck down in the administrative tribunal,'' a senior bureaucrat said.
He added that the CBI had written to the chief secretary asking him to take action in accordance with the law against the officials named in the first information report (FIR) filed by it. The state government had in return asked the CBI to give it information and details of the wrongdoing of these two officials to proceed further.
Four government officials have been named as accused in the Adarsh case, including former urban development department secretary Ramanand Tiwari, former secretary to the CM, Subhash Lalla, apart from Vyas and Phatak, and PV Deshmukh, who has been arrested. While Lalla has retired and Tiwari has been suspended, both Vyas and Phatak continue in service.