Does buck stop with Chavan? | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Does buck stop with Chavan?

Is Ashok Chavan’s resignation on Tuesday as Maharashtra chief minister the beginning of a process that will set many more heads rolling?

mumbai Updated: Nov 09, 2010 23:21 IST
Sayli Udas Mankikar
Sayli Udas Mankikar
Hindustan Times

Is Ashok Chavan’s resignation on Tuesday as Maharashtra chief minister the beginning of a process that will set many more heads rolling?

Will his predecessors, who were instrumental in mooting the proposal and getting extra floors cleared for the Adarsh cooperative housing society, also be made answerable?

Papers related to the Adarsh cooperative make it clear that many politicians and bureaucrats were involved in irregularities from 1999 to 2010.

In 1999, when the government got a proposal for forming the Adarsh society, Narayan Rane, then in the Shiv Sena, was chief minister. Next year, when Vilasrao Deshmukh of the Congress was chief minister, the files began to move.

Simultaneously, the army’s general officer in command issued a no-objection certificate, saying the plot was outside limits of defence premises.

Again, in Deshmukh’s term, the urban development department (UDD), headed by him, reduced the length of a road adjoining the building from 60 metres to 18 metres.

In 2004, when Sushil Kumar Shinde was chief minister, the society was allotted the plot. The government also cleared the project and the number of members approved increased to 51. In 2005, after Deshmukh again became chief minister, two major changes were made in the Adarsh plans.

First, the UDD allowed Adarsh to use the floor space index (the index that determines the built area) of an adjoining 2,669 square metre plot of a BEST (Mumbai’s electricity supply unit) undertaking.

The height of the building, which was supposed to be below 30 metres because it is in a coastal sensitive zone, was increased to 104 metres.

Many state government officials from 1999 pointed out that environment clearances were pending but no action was taken till now.

The daughter of Uttam Khobragade, who was BEST manager when a plot was allotted from the undertaking, has a flat in the society. So does the son of Jairaj Phatak, who was the Mumbai municipal commissioner when the high rise panel approved extra floors.