Who granted the controversial Adarsh society, in Mumbai’s most prime real estate localities, the letter of intent or the initial approval to allot the land?
If affidavits filed by politicians and bureaucrats, before the two member commission, on Adarsh housing scam are anything to go by, no one in government is willing to pick up the tab for this.
The letter of intent (LOI), issued on January 18, 2003, and the initial list of approved 71 members are among the many unanswered questions about the 31-storey Colaba tower.
One of the reasons for the confusion is that the LOI was issued two days after Deshmukh resigned as the chief minister on January 16, 2003 and on the first day of office for his successor, Sushilkumar Shinde.
Both, Deshmukh and Shinde, who have filed their affidavits before the commission have not taken any responsibility, putting the onus on the then city collector for preparing proposal for allotment as well as verifying eligibility of the members.
The then city collector, Pradeep Vyas however, in his affidavit has passed this responsibility back to the state government. Vyas’ affidavit says, the state government issued the letter of intent through the revenue department. It had clearance from the chief minister.
Moreover, he has said, “I, as the district collector of Mumbai, had no authority to approve and grant membership in Adarsh co-operative society when 71 persons were granted membership via government memorandum July 2004 and August 24, 2004.”
Vyas has added that it was only in September 2004 that government issued orders that collector would approve membership of housing societies.
Shinde in his affidavit has pointed out that LOI was granted the day he took over (hinting it was his predecessor’s decision). It finally remains to be seen what the then revenue minister and former chief minister Ashok Chavan says about the LOI in his affidavit.