In his role as chief minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh had followed “uncommon practice” by noting on a file that the proposal to allot land to the Adarsh co-operative housing society be “put up immediately,” city collector Chandrashekhar Oak told the two-member Adarsh Commission on Monday.
The file had also been marked tatkal (urgent), the collector said. Oak’s statement contradicts Deshmukh’s claim in his affidavit that the noting was a routine one.
Such a noting was not only unusual on the part of a CM but also, specifically, on Deshmukh’s part, Oak told the judicial panel. “It was not Deshmukh’s regular practice to mark every file pertaining to land as tatkal,” he said.
Oak was part of the CM’s secretariat in 2000 when Deshmukh made the noting on a letter written by the under-secretary of the revenue and forest department to the superintendent of land records, asking for a detailed note on the Colaba housing society floated by former defence services personnel and former Shiv Sena functionary Kanhaiyalal Gidwani.
Asked by the commission’s senior counsel Dipan Merchant what tatkal meant, the collector said, “Generally, it means two days.”
Deshmukh had, in his affidavit filed before the commission last month, blamed the collectorate for allotting land to the society and for other issues related to the 31-storey tower. He had said that it was the collectorate that was closely associated with such decisions.
The collector’s office is the holder of all land records. Oak’s deposition will continue on Tuesday.