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Adarsh scam papers missing

In another shocker for the Maharashtra government that is already scurrying for cover in the Adarsh Housing Society scam, crucial file notings have been found missing from one of the urban development department files on the project.
By Ketaki Ghoge & Manish Pachouly | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON NOV 27, 2010 11:55 PM IST

In another shocker for the Maharashtra government that is already scurrying for cover in the Adarsh Housing Society scam, crucial file notings have been found missing from one of the urban development department files on the project.

Four pages — numbers 15, 27, 99 and 279 — of the 2003 file, containing notings and signatures of then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and department secretary Ramanand Tiwari, have been reported to be missing.

The notings approved two controversial decisions on the Adarsh society — reducing the width of the approach road to the building, Captain Prakash Pethe Marg, and changing the status of the land from reserved to residential.

The first time the disappearance of pages from the file was discovered was on November 1. State government officials, however, kept mum on why the incident was not put on record at that time.

Deputy commissioner of Maharashtra Police Cherring Dorje said the other missing documents were the correspondence between then deputy secretary of the department PV Deshmukh and the environment ministry.

It was on the basis of these documents that the department claimed that the project had the green go-ahead.

But the environment ministry recently declared the Adarsh building as illegal since the promoters had not approached the Centre for coastal zone clearance.

Pressured by the investigating agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation, the urban development department lodged a complaint with the Marine Drive police station on Friday.

The last time the files were discussed was at the Maharastra Coastal Zone Management Authority meeting on November 3.

But the department did not mention the disappearance of the pages even then.

The society in Colaba, a plush locality in south Mumbai, was originally meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil war heroes and their kin, but was later expanded to 31 floors, allegedly without the mandatory permission.

What’s more, influential army brass, politicians, their kin and bureaucrats managed to grab apartments meant for war heroes.

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