Adarsh Society scam: SC seeks Centre’s response on bureaucrat’s plea

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the Centre’s response on a plea of a former Maharashtra government official seeking to implead himself as a party in the Adarsh Society scam issue pending before it.

A Bench of Justices J. Chelameswar and A.M. Sapre issued notice to the Centre on the plea of P.V. Deshmukh, former Deputy Secretary Urban Development in the State, whose alleged role in the scam has been probed.

Mr. Deshmukh in his plea sought impleadment in the case saying he is not a party to the ongoing hearing in the matter pending with the apex court and certain remarks have been made against him in his absence during the hearing.

The court took note of his plea and asked the Centre to respond to it in four weeks.

On July 22, the apex court has said that the 31-storey scam-tainted Adarsh apartments, built at Colaba in posh South Mumbai locality for Kargil war heroes and war widows, will not be demolished for the time being.

It had asked the Centre to secure it after taking its possession from the housing society by August 5, 2016.

The apex court had asked the Registrar General of Bombay High Court to ensure that either he or other Registrar, nominated by him, supervises the handing over of the possession of the building.

Simultaneously, an inventory of documents of the Housing Society pertaining to the apartments be prepared and handed over to the housing society to enable it to pursue its legal battles in various courts of law, the bench said.

Earlier, the Bombay High Court had ordered demolition of the apartments and sought initiation of criminal proceedings against politicians and bureaucrats for “misuse” of powers, holding that the tower was illegally constructed.

In its order, the HC Bench had asked the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest to carry out the demolition at the expense of petitioners (Adarsh Society).

The Adarsh scam had kicked up a huge political storm after it surfaced in 2010, leading to the resignation of the then Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.

In February this year, the Maharashtra Governor accorded sanction to the CBI to prosecute Mr. Chavan under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code in the case.

In 2011, the State government had set up a two-member Judicial Commission headed by Justice J.A. Patil to inquire into the scam.

After probing the issue for over two years, it submitted its report in 2013, which found that there had been 25 illegal allotments, including 22 purchases made by proxy.

Later, the CBI, the Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) also investigated the scam.

In January 2011, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests issued a demolition order mainly on the ground that the society did not have Coastal Regulation Zone clearance.

Adarsh Society had filed a petition in 2011 in the Bombay High Court challenging the demolition order issued by the Ministry.

The Defence Ministry also filed a petition in the high court seeking implementation of its demolition order, besides filing a title suit in the high court claiming that it was the owner of the plot on which the plush Adarsh Society building stands in South Mumbai.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2020 5:23:23 PM |

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