Bombay High Court pulls up Maharashtra Govt. over Adarsh scam

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Mumbai, Dec 21 (ANI): The Bombay High Court on Tuesday slammed the Maharashtra Government over the controversial Adarsh Housing Society scam saying it is 'a clear-cut case of manipulation' by its officers in which everybody who was supposed to clear the file was 'gifted' a flat.

A Division bench of Justices B H Marlapalle and U D Salvi also observed that the state government seemed to have gone 'out of way' to please former Army Chiefs Deepak Kapur and Nirmal Chandar Wij, who were initially not allotted flat because they were not state residents for 15 years, but later got the flats as 'exceptional cases'.

The court further pulled up the state government for not filing any FIR against those guilty in the scam. he court made the observations while hearing a petition filed by Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society challenging cancellation of occupation certificate and disconnection of water and power supply by the civic authorities.

"You took action against Society, what about the government officers? Why no FIR was registered till now? It is a clear-cut case of manipulation by the collectorate, the state revenue ministry and urban development ministry," the court said after going through the records pertaining to the society and to the approval granted to its members in stages.

"Everybody who was supposed to clear the file was gifted a flat. Contrary to the government's stand, the land on which the building stands was in the possession of the defence ministry, but this status was altered by the order of P V Deshmukh, a deputy secretary with the urban development department, in 2004," the court observed.

"How this happened? Everything changed after this...No CBI inquiry is going to help now," said Justice Marlapalle.

Reading aloud some of the names in the list of members, the court wondered how the people staying in Sangli or Kolhapur came to know about Adarsh allotment, or could afford a flat there.

Justice Marlapalle further noted that though the Society was earlier meant for defence personnel, not even 50 per cent of current 104 members were from defence services.

The judge suggested that if the members with the defence forces background were willing to shift to first 12 floors of the 31-storey building, the court may order interim restoration of power-water supply up to 12 storeys.

The lawyers sought time till Thursday for getting instructions from the Society.

The 31-storey Adarsh Society, originally meant for Kargil war heroes, landed in controversy after media reports said several politicians, bureaucrats and defence personnel owned flats there.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had on November 15 registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) to probe the alleged role of former and serving Army officers, with the permission of Defence Minister A K Antony.

The plush housing Society, built on prime defence land, has been constructed in alleged violation of rules. It was originally meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil war heroes and their kin, but was later extended to 31 floors without mandatory permission. (ANI)

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