The Bombay High Court on Thursday suggested the Adarsh co-operative housing society to surrender the building to the Ministry of Defence.
“If there is a mistake, there is nothing wrong in surrendering before the law,” Division Bench of Justices P.B. Majmudar and R.D. Dhanuka said while making observations during the proceedings.
Citing the examples of Mahatma Gandhi and Lokmanya Tilak, the Division Bench said that politicians should act in a manner that they would be remembered for generations to come.
“Anand Bhavan in Allahabad was donated by the Nehru family. We want our ministers and leaders to be remembered after 100 years. There is nothing wrong in having a change of heart. Reformation is a good thing,” the Court said.
“Nobody can be allowed to play with the defence of the country. We can't take the matter lightly…We have to learn from the terror attacks. We have to keep public safety in mind,” Justice Majumdar said.
The court directed the city's planning authorities like the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) to seek No Objection Certificate (NOC) before giving permission for any construction in the high-security areas.
IAS officers suspended
It also directed the planning authorities to tell the court in the next hearing if they had obtained the NOC in the Adarsh matter. “Point out before this court whether in this case the NOC of the Defence Department was obtained. Also point out whether such person was authorised to give the permission,” the court said. “Without NOC, construction shouldn't take place,” it said further.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government informed the court that it had suspended two senior IAS officers named by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the First Information Report (FIR). Jairaj Phatak, the then Municipal Commissioner of MCGM, and Pradeep Vyas, the then Collector of the city, have been suspended pending inquiry. Mr. Vyas is already under arrest.
The CBI had written to the State government a few days ago requesting it to take disciplinary action against the duo.
“The State government has exercised discretion and placed two officers under suspension. At this stage, we are satisfied that the investigation carried out by the agencies, more so by the CBI, is in the right direction,” the court said after the CBI submitted the minutes of its meeting with the Income Tax department and Enforcement Directorate officials.
Additional Solicitor General Darius Khambata said a high-power committee comprising officials of all the three departments had been formed to investigate the benami transactions in purchasing the flats and that it held its first meeting a few days ago.
The court lauded the initiative and expressed confidence in its functioning. “We have no doubt that they will come out with flying colours,” it said.
ED submits report
The Enforcement Directorate submitted a detailed status report on its investigation in a sealed envelope.
The court posted the matter for hearing on April 30 when it will monitor the progress in investigation.