Adarsh Society to approach SC; says paid dues, got clearances
The Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society chairman said he would approach the SC against the Bombay HC demolition order. He said that in 2002, the society had got clearances from the Urban Development Department and Ministry of Environment and Forests. Furthermore, he claimed that the society got environmental clearance and had paid Rs.16 crore to the government as it was built on government land.
The Adarsh Housing Society is a 31-storey building constructed on prime real estate in Colaba, Mumbai for the welfare of war widows, and veterans of the Kargil conflict. The Adarsh scam, unearthed by National Alliance of People's Movement (NAPM) involved politician-bureaucrat nexus. Politicians, bureaucrats and military officers bent rules concerning land ownership, and zoning to get homes in the society at below market rates.
In October'10, several news channels began carrying reports of alleged violations in the construction of the Adarsh housing Society in Colaba, Mumbai. The violations came to light after Western Naval Commander Vice Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin accused the army of trying to appropriate the land. It was revealed that 3 of CM Ashok Chavan's relatives were also allotted flats in the society at concessional rates.
The land where the building was constructed was originally defence land. The building which was supposed to be only 6 floors was extended to 31 floors by flouting norms and misrepresenting facts. In addition, officials modified the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority development plans to allow construction of residential property on a Coastal Regulatory Zone. Only 3 officers involved in Kargil were allotted houses.
The Adarsh scam led to the resignation of then Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and an FIR was filed against him.
On investigation, a charge-sheet was filed against Ashok Chavan and others for their involvement in the scam. However, the CBI was denied permission to prosecute Mr. Chavan by the then Maharashtra Governor on the grounds that the evidence against the Congress leader were insufficient. Consequently, CBI had filed a plea in the Bombay High Court to remove Mr. Chavan's name from the rejected plea.
Former Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan filed a review petition to get his name removed from the charge-sheet filed by CBI in the Adarsh scam. The Bombay High Court, however, rejected his plea. Incidently, Mr. Chavan had been recently appointed as the Maharashtra state Congress President. The verdict comes as a major setback both to the Congress and Mr. Ashok Chavan.
A Right To Information query, filed by activist Anil Galgali inquiring about the actions taken by Maharashtra government against the 12 bureaucrats who were issued strictures in the Adarsh housing scam, had been declined. The reason mentioned for the decline was that the information sought was of "personal nature". However, Mr. Anil rejected the reason and suspected that the information is deliberately denied.
The Maharashtra Governor C H Vidyasagar Rao, gave approval to the CBI to prosecute former chief minister Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh cooperative housing scandal. The decision comes a week after the state council of ministers gave their consent to initiate the probe against Chavan in the case. Chavan defended himself arguing that the move was "political vindictiveness of the BJP government."
The governor's nod to allow CBI to prosecute Ashok Chavan comes without any new evidence presented by the CBI. This is important because earlier the governor had rejected a request for prosecution. Mr. Chavan, however, has questioned as to how the CBI can refer the same case to the governor without new evidence. He has declared that he would be challenging the governor's decision.
The Bombay HC ordered the demolition of Colaba's Adarsh Housing Society, an illegal apartment-block that led to the stepping-down of Ashok Chavan as Maharashtra's CM. The cost of demolition will also be carried out by the housing society. The court also ordered that Rs.600,000 be paid by the society to officials of the Central ministry of environment and forest and state government for violations.