In their explanations to the Adarsh inquiry commission, retired civil servants named in the report “disowned” their relatives in whose name the flats in the building were booked.
In affidavit to the Commission, the former secretary to the Chief Minister, Subhash Lalla, who was indicted by the probe panel, said the membership applications of his daughter, Sumeela Sethi, and mother Susheela Saligram were approved when he was the secretary to the CM. And as per as per the All India Service Rules, they were not members of his “immediate family,” Mr. Lalla argued.
However, the report notes: “So far as Mr. Lalla’s daughter Mrs. Sumeela Sethi is concerned, she might have purchased the flat in Adarsh CHS on her own but this is not true with regard to his mother Mrs. Susheela Saligram, who was a housewife and did not have her own income. Mrs. Saligram also stayed with Mr. Lalla at his official residence when she was allotted a flat in Adarsh. It must be said that Mr. Lalla has contravened the provision of rule 3(1) and 16(3)(a) of the AIS rules.”
According to the report, Sanjoy Sankaran, the son of former Chief Secretary Dr. D.K. Sankaran, was also allotted a flat in the controversial housing society. However, Mr. Sankaran told the commission that he did not fall within the definition of the term “member of family” of his father as per rule 2(b) of the AIS Rules.
But the commission indicted Dr. Sankaran for violating provision 3(1) of the AIS “because he had occasion to deal with the file of Adarsh CHS.”
Senior IAS officer C.S. Sangitrao, who was the secretary to the Chief Minister when his son Ranjit was granted membership of Adarsh CHS, also argued in his explanation to the commission that his son was not a “member of his family.”
But the commission noted that Ranjit was a student and “dependent” on his father and under Rule 2(b) of the AIS, and thus Mr. Sangitrao has committed breach of rule 3(1) and 14(2) of the AIS.
According to the probe report, three “close” relatives of former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who resigned in 2010 when the scam was exposed, were granted membership of Adarsh Society.
Seema Sharma, the wife of Mr. Chavan’s brother-in-law Vinod Sharma, Madanlal Sharma, the brother of Mr. Chavan’s father-in-law Manoharlal Sharma and Mr. Chavan’s mother-in-law Bhagwati Sharma were granted membership of the building during his tenure as the CM, says the report.
When the scam broke out Mr. Chavan too had used the same argument put forward by the civil servants, saying they were “his distant relatives.”
Although former Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Phatak didn’t “disown” his son, he said he had given an “interest free” loan of Rs. 2.60 lakh to his son Kanishk Phatak to buy a flat in the Adarsh CHS.