The judicial commission on Adarsh Housing Scam had indicted several bureaucrats and politicians, including four former CMs of Maharashtra. The state government, which earlier rejected the commission report, has now partially accepted it. Here are excerpts from the report
Maharashtra government that was 'forced' to reconsider the judicial panel report on Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society (Adarsh CHS) scam, on Thursday, partially accepted the report and decided to form a committee to decide upon further action.
Last month, the Maharashtra government rejected the report of the judicial commission of inquiry on the Adarsh CHS scam that indicted several politicians, including four former chief ministers of Maharashtra, for blatant violations of statutory provisions. The report of the two-member commission headed by retired High Court Judge JA Patil came down heavily on those in authority, describing the scam as a bad precedent.
The report of the two-member judicial commission had indicted several politicians including four former chief ministers—Ashok Chavan, late Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde and Shivajirao Nilangekar Patil—for blatant violations of statutory provisions. Several bureaucrats were also indicted in the report.
While accepting the judicial commission report in parts, the Prithviraj Chavan-led Congress government accepted quid pro quo allegations against former chief minister Ashok Chavan. On the other hand, it gave a clean chit to former chief ministers, Sushilkumar Shinde and late Vilasrao Deshmukh, and ministers Sunil Tatkare and Rajesh Tope.
Here are excerpts from the Adarsh Report (remember Rs7 crore of public money has been spent for making this report and politicians from Maharashtra have ‘partially’ accepted it):
- € Adarsh portrays a “shameless tale of blatant violation of statutory provisions, rules and regulations. It reflects greed, nepotism and favouritism’’ (Adarsh Report)
- € Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society (CHS) was floated in 1994 by RC Thakur, an officer with Defence Estates Office, as the chief promoter and Brig Wanchoo (retd) in 1994 as the secretary.
- € The Society was meant to be for serving and retired defence officers who have not been able to procure a shelter despite full length of service to the motherland.
- € The 8,300sq mtrs of land lying adjacent to Oyster and Dolphin buildings was chosen for the Adarsh CHS but it fell in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and no building is allowed to be constructed 500 metres from the high tide line. Hence, the proposal was rejected by the Collector in 1994 and then in 1998 too. Both Thakur and Wanchoo continued to persist – even wrote a letter to Narayan Rane, the then chief minister – for shelter to members who have dedicated their lives to the service of the motherland. They failed.
- € One Captain Kala introduces Thakur to Kanhayalal Gidwani, who was a Congress person and had great influence over its leaders. Thakur and Wanchoo requested Gidwani to represent the case to get the required permission for the “welfare of the defence personnel”.
- € Gidwani wanted to have his pound of flesh so made Thakur and Wanchoo make a formal declaration in 1999 that he (Gidwani) would carry out the assignment on a condition that 30 flats should be at his (Gidwani’s) disposal. The duo agreed for hook or crook they wanted Adarsh to be built
- € Twelve letters written by Gidwani to various government authorities including chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh in 2000 made the same appeal–to look into the genuineness of the case and the sacrifice made by military officers to their motherland.
- € The office bearers of the Society also tried to ask the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to change the CRZ to II level from I so that they could get clearance for the building, but failed in their attempts.
- € Thereafter, the Society members wrote to the then Minister of Revenue, Ashok Chavan and suggested that another alternate land measuring 3,854 sq mtrs should be considered but it is in physical possession of military authorities. They appealed that it should be taken back from the defence authorities. The letter also proposed that the state government had proposed to widen the Cuffe Parade Road and join it to 60 mtrs wide road known as Colaba-Uran Road. Since that did not come through due to ban in reclamation land, this could be adjusted by making changes in the DP plan and added to the land for making Adarsh CHS.
- € The then Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh showed great enthusiasm and asked for the file and wrote “please call for the proposal and put it up immediately”. That began a trail of permissions to be sought from different authorities.
- € Besides the Collector who cleared it, Col SS Jog on behalf of the GOC-IN-C wrote that the said land falls out of the defence boundary and therefore, decision may be taken for the housing welfare of the military personnel. Collector Debashis Chakrobarty submitted his report stating that the proposed society is for 40 top grade officers of the army, navy and defence estate personnel. As far as taking the land which was dedicated to road widening, a clearance should be taken from Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
- € On 2 June 2000, a letter was written to the then Revenue Minister Ashok Chavan requesting him to consider 40% civilians as members for the Adarsh CHS, thus making it 19 members from the civilian side and 31 members from the defence.
- € MMRDA also gave a nod to the reduction of the Captain Prakash Pethe Marg and the state government changed the zoning from road to partial residential.
- € The greed was not over though. In 2003, Gidwani proposed that the Adarsh Society be given additional floor space index (FSI) from the nearby BEST depot also, besides eating up a part of the Pethe Marg. And the reason? Thakur wrote to the then revenue minister that since the civil members have risen from20 to 71, which has been approved by the state government, additional FSI should be granted to ensure decent housing for these members. This meant swallowing a part of the 2,669 odd sq mtrs additional space from the BEST land which was reserved for bus depot in the DP. Adarsh CHS was permitted to use 700-odd sq mtrs for commercial use and so a part of the Bus Depot reservation was changed to residential use.
- € The Report remarks: “It was also noticed that some persons, for instance a driver in a remote place at Nagpur who had never been to Mumbai or an ordinary vegetable vendor sitting on the side of the road making a modest earning all of a sudden goes for buying a flat in Adarsh CHS although he has no intention of leaving his place of occupation or residence”.
- € Adarsh CHS enjoyed political patronage of four former chief ministers, late Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde, Ashok Chavan and Shivajirao Nilengakar Patil as well as two ministers of state Sunil Tatkare and Rajesh Tope.
The complete report can be downloaded from http://www.satyamevajayate.info/