Adarsh Scam: Panel calls Shinde, Deshmukh

Union ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushil Kumar Shinde, both former chief ministers of Maharashtra, have been summoned by the two member commission set up to inquire into alleged irregularities in Adarsh housing scam

Mumbai: The two-member commission set up to inquire into alleged irregularities in Adarsh housing society on Wednesday summoned Union ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushil Kumar Shinde, both former chief ministers of Maharashtra, next month, to record their statements, reports PTI.

Deshmukh has been summoned on 21st and 22nd June while Shinde has been asked to appear on 25th and 26th June. The summons was issued by the commission headed by JA Patil, retired judge of the Bombay High Court.

Meanwhile, the commission reserved till tomorrow its order on an application filed by another former chief minister Ashok Chavan seeking exemption from appearance to give evidence.

Chavan was to appear before the commission today. He, however, filed an application yesterday seeking exemption.

The commission's counsel Dipan Merchant argued that there should not be any discrimination between witnesses, no matter who they were and howsoever highly placed they might be. The witnesses have to come before the Commission and give information, he said.

Both Deshmukh and Shinde had claimed in affidavits before the Commission last June that the Adarsh land in Mumbai belonged to the Maharashtra government and was never reserved for defence personnel at Kargil war heroes.

"The records maintained with the collector of Mumbai clearly show that the land belonged to the state government.

The ownership of the land was never an issue at any stage so far I am concerned," Deshmukh had said.

He had also denied allegations that he had continuously held meetings with Kanaihyalal Gidwani, one of the promoters of the scam-tainted cooperative society.

"I deny that it was on the insistence of Gidwani that Revenue department was asked to put up the case of allotment of land to Adarsh. The suggestion that I ordered the allotment of land to Adarsh in an irregular and/or improper manner to favour Gidwani is fully mischievous," his affidavit said.

Earlier, former principal secretary Ramanand Tiwari, in his affidavit, had said approvals for the Adarsh building had been given by Deshmukh.

Shinde too had reiterated Deshmukh's version that the Adarsh land belonged to Maharashtra government and added that the allotment of plot to the society was done after proper scrutiny of all records.

"The Letter of Intent dated 18 January 2003 made it clear that the land was allotted according to the government resolution (GR) of July 1999 which did not provide reservation for war heroes," Shinde had told the Commission.

He had also denied allegation of receiving favours from the society members and said that due process of law was followed and verification done by several state government officials before granting permission to the high-rise.

"During my tenure as chief minister from May 2003 till November 2004, I did not get any complaint about any alleged irregularity in allotment of the land to Adarsh Society," he had asserted.

Chavan, who had to step down as the chief minister in November 2010 following the scam, while seeking exemption from appearing in person said he had already filed an affidavit in which he disclosed whatever information he had about Adarsh Society. He said he had nothing more to add and did not wish to say anything before the Commission.

In its interim report, the commission had said the land belonged to the state government, contrary to the claim made by the Ministry of Defence that it was a defence land.

Chavan is accused of recommending 40% allotment of flats in the Adarsh Housing Society, originally meant for Kargil war widows, to civilians. Chavan is also facing allegations that his relatives got flats in the society.

He was the revenue minister from 1999-2003 when the land was allotted to the housing society. Deshmukh was the chief minister during that period.

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Petrol price hiked by Rs7.50 a litre from midnight

State-owned oil firms said they will raise petrol price by Rs6.28 per litre excluding local sales tax or VAT

New Delhi: In the steepest ever hike, petrol price was increased on Wednesday by Rs7.50 a litre with effect from midnight tonight, reports PTI.

State-owned oil firms said they will raise petrol price by Rs6.28 per litre excluding local sales tax or VAT. The hike translates into Rs7.50 per litre in Delhi.

Petrol in Delhi currently costs Rs65.64 a litre and after the increase it will be priced at Rs73.14 per litre.

BJP has flayed the steep hike of Rs7.5 per litre in petrol price terming it as "unreasonable" which will make the life of the common man "miserable".

"This whole petrol price hike is clearly unreasonable, arbitrary and is condemned as it will put further inflationary pressure and lead to further rise in prices. Life of the common man will become more difficult and miserable," BJP's chief Spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

He said the petrol price hike "will have a cascading effect and prices are going to go out of control. It is condemnable."

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Tata Global Beverages Q4 net profit falls 36% at Rs54 crore

The Tata group company's fourth quarter net sales increased to Rs1,724.11 crore from Rs1,558.01 crore a year ago

New Delhi: Tata Global Beverages on Wednesday said its consolidated net profit fell 36.4% to Rs54.21 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 2012, reports PTI.

The company had posted a net profit of Rs85.24 crore during the same period of previous fiscal, Tata Global Beverages said in a filing to the BSE.

Net sales of the company, however, rose to Rs1,724.11 crore for the fourth quarter, as against Rs1,558.01 crore in the corresponding period of previous financial year.

For the year ended March 2012, the company posted a net profit of Rs356.14 crore, as against Rs254.33 crore in 2010-11.

Net sales of the company for the year ended March 2012, stood at Rs6,585.26 crore, compared to Rs5,982.42 crore in 2010-11.

The company's board, which met today, has recommended a full year dividend of Rs2.15 per share.

Shares of Tata Global Beverages today closed at Rs108 on the BSE, down 1.03% from its previous close.

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