India

Supreme Court stays demolition order of Adarsh

22 Jul 2016 | By Vijaya
Adarsh Housing Scandal : The story so far

Supreme Court granted a stay on the Adarsh Housing demolition order, issued by the Bombay High Court.

The apex court had asked the Center to take over possession of the housing complex and ensure its security, until all the appeals are decided.

An SC-appointed commissioner will oversee the take over.

Adarsh society moved the SC on 18 July against the Bombay HC order.

In context: Adarsh Housing Scandal : The story so far

The scamWhat is the Adarsh Housing scandal?

The controversial Adarsh Housing Society is a 31-storey residential building located in the prime area of Colaba, Mumbai.

The building was originally intended to be a 6-storey structure, for housing war veterans and war widows of the personnel killed in the Kargil war.

The owners of the housing complex ended up being politicians, bureaucrats, and defence officers, unrelated to the Kargil war.

2008-2010RTI, a major tool behind exposing the scandal

Brewing since 2003, the Adarsh scam came to light through RTI (Right to Information) queries filed by members of NAPM (National Alliance of People's Movement).

In 2008, Simpreet Singh, an NAPM member, filed complaints with Maharashtra's Environment Department and the Defence Ministry. A PIL was filed with the Bombay High Court in 2010.

Another activist Yogacharya Anandji also filed 14 RTIs on the issue.

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RTI revelations

The RTI queries revealed that apart from flouting environmental norms, the Adarsh Housing complex's land belonged to the Defence Ministry and not the Maharashtra Government. Further, the number of allottees increased from an initial 31 to 103, during a period between 2003 and 2008.
CBI probe ordered, as Ashok Chavan resigns

Chavan's resignation and CBI probeCBI probe ordered, as Ashok Chavan resigns

Ashok Chavan from Congress, was forced to quit as the Maharashtra CM in 2010, after his relatives were found to be among the allottees of the Adarsh complex.

Acting on the complaint from NAPM, the Defence ministry ordered an inquiry and a detailed CBI probe into the scandal.

The Maharashtra Environment Department also issued a show-cause notice to the housing complex.

Some allottees of the flats in the building

Some prominent owners in the Adarsh complex include : Union Minister Suresh Prabhu, Congress leader Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, Former Chiefs of Army N.C.Vij and Deepak Kapoor, diplomat Devyani Khobragade. Of the 103 allottees, just 37 belonged to Army (only 3 of them connected to Kargil).

Judicial Committee reportThe Adarsh Judicial Commission report

A judical commission was set up by Maharashtra in 2011, to investigate the Adarsh scam.

The committee which submitted its report in 2013, recommended the cancellation of 25 memberships of Adarsh apartment allottees, who were found to be ineligible.

The committee recorded statements from 182 witnesses and its report indicted four former Maharashtra CMs including Ashok Chavan, Sushil Kumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh.

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30 Apr 2016Bombay HC orders demolition of Adarsh society

The Bombay High Court had ordered the Union Environment Ministry to demolish Adarsh Society.

The court's verdict upheld the Environment Ministry's 2011 order to demolish the Adarsh building.

The court however stayed this order for 12 weeks.

The HC also directed the State and Centre Governments to "consider initiating appropriate civil/criminal proceedings" against the politicians, ministers, and bureaucrats involved in the scam.

22 Jul 2016Supreme Court stays demolition order of Adarsh