Adarsh Society scam: PM says will make 'meaningful comment' after collecting facts

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On Air India One, Oct. 30 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Saturday, said that while he was aware of the controversy surrounding the allotment of flats to retired senior defence personnel and the upper strata of Mumbai in the Adarsh Society in Colaba through the papers, he would only give a "meaningful comment" on the issue after ascertaining all facts on his return to New Delhi from a three-nation visit.

Interacting with media persons onboard his special aircraft, which was flying from Vietnam capital Hanoi to Delhi, Dr. Singh said: "I am not familiar with all the facts of this case. I have seen the newspapers. When I will go back and find out the facts, it is only then, I can meaningfully comment."

The Prime Minister's comment on the issue came hours after Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan met Congress party president Sonia Gandhi and offered to resign in connection with his government's alleged role in the Adarsh Society housing scam.

Placing the onus of Gandhi to take a final decision on the issue, Chavan told media persons here this afternoon that he had presented all the facts connected to the project to the Congress president after she asked him to give a full explanation.

Chavan also said that he would welcome a probe by the Union Defence Ministry.

Rumor mills are reportedly agog with speculation that a decision could be taken by the Congress leadership within the next ten days. Speculation is rife, though unconfirmed, that Minister of State for Science and Technology and the Prime Minister's Office, Prithviraj Chavan, is one of the frontrunners for replacing Ashok Chavan at Mantralaya.

Earlier, Ashok Chavan was summoned to meet Gandhi in connection with the controversial Adarsh Housing Society project.

Sources said the Congress leadership is upset with Chavan, whose mother-in-law and two other relatives are among 103 members of the housing society project in Mumbai.

It has been reported that Chavan was involved in clearing papers for the upscale high-rise Adarsh building project in his previous capacity as Revenue Minister.

On Friday, Chavan said he did not abuse his position to help his relatives get flats in the society, and added that he welcomed any sort of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the scam.

"I was not the Chief Minister of Maharashtra when the request for the land came up. I have no role in the allotment. I have not abused my position. These are politically motivated allegations," said Chavan.

Chavan further said the land belongs to the state government and was not reserved for Kargil widows or war heroes.

"The land belongs to the state government, based on the Collector"s records. Revenue department land granted to the society as per GR of 9.7.1999. This land falls outside the defence boundary. It was not reserved for war veterans or Kargil heroes," said Chavan.

The 31-storey high-rise in Colaba has become a catchment area for a massive political controversy.

Former army chiefs, politicians and bureaucrats have all been allotted flats here for a fraction of the market rate. As of now, some of these members have decided to return their allotments By Naveen Kapoor(ANI)

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