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Ashok Chavan Stumbles

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The growing Adarsh building

The building that brought down a government

The Adarsh building scam has finally led to the Maharashtra state government’s fall, reports ET:

Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan has accepted Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s resignation in the wake of the Adarsh Housing Society scam.

The Governor, however, asked Chavan to continue as the stae’s acting chief minister till a decision is taken on his successor by the Congress Legislative Party in the state.

Earlier, Chavan submitted his resignation to the Governor after Congress president Sonia Gandhi accepted his offer to resign this morning.

The decision to accept Chavan’s resignation came minutes after an inquiry report was submitted to the Congress President by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Defence Minister A K Antony.

Mukherjee and Antony will be in Mumbai today to attend the Congress Legislature Party meeting as central observers.

Chavan, 51, had offered to resign during a meeting with Gandhi on October 30 after it emerged that three of his relatives were members of the housing society in upmarket Colaba.

ET reports elsewhere:

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday said action against Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai for violation of green norms will be taken in the next two-three days.

The Adarsh tower should probably be brought down because of the many municipal regulations which were bypassed. The application of an ecological regulation inside an area bordered by land reclaimed over the last 200 years is a joke. In fact, it is so much of a joke that one begins to wonder why the government is intent on not reviewing the series of special orders which led to permissions being granted for this building.

Jan 4, 2011

Heads continue to roll, as Telegraph reports:

A former IAS officer close to central ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde and Vilasrao Deshmukh has resigned from the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission, marking the beginning of an administrative clean-up in the wake of the Adarsh housing scandal.

Subhash Lalla, whose mother and daughter own flats in Adarsh in South Mumbai, called on Maharashtra governor K. Sankaranarayanan at Raj Bhavan this morning, and submitted his resignation. “The governor has accepted Lalla’s resignation,” a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

In the evening, the government carried out sweeping changes in the administrative set-up and replaced several officials, including the chief secretary. Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority chief Ratnakar Gaikwad was appointed chief secretary, replacing J.P. Dange.

The Mumbai municipal commissioner and the principal secretary to the revenue department have also been changed. Changes were also ordered in departments like urban development, finance and planning, government sources said.

The Prithviraj Chavan administration had last week informally advised Lalla and state information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari to step down on “moral grounds”.

Jan 5, 2011

HT reported:

The state government is likely to initiate in-house disciplinary action through a departmental inquiry against 21 officials under the scanner in the Adarsh housing society scam. These include 12 serving and retired bureaucrats. If found guilty, officials will face either censure, a promotion withheld, a demotion or dismissal.

The state is also likely to initiate proceedings to sack state information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari if he fails to tender his resignation to the governor in a day or two.

Sources said Tiwari, a former bureaucrat, whose son Omkar has a flat in the controversial tower, was unwilling to resign.

Officials under the scanner include former civic commissioner Jairaj Phatak, former Mumbai collectors Pradeep Vyas and IA Kundan, former BEST general manager Uttam Khobragade, IFS officer RK Das and retired bureaucrat CS Sangitrao.

TOI followed up with this report:

Maharashtra information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari, whose son has a flat in the scam-tainted Adarsh housing society here, has applied for long leave but his plea was rejected by Maharashtra governor K Sankaranarayanan.

“Tiwari had sought leave from January 7 to March 31. The governor has not granted leave to him,” a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

Jan 11, 2011

TOI reports:

The Maharashtra cabinet has recommended the suspension of state information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari for his alleged role in the Adarsh Housing Society scam.

The recommendation to suspend Ramanand Tiwari has been sent to the state Governor for approval, said Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.

Ramanand Tiawari’s son owns a flat in the controversial Adarsh building.

Tiwari was in charge of the Urban Development department when the Adarsh building got crucial clearances. He has also been accused of withholding information on the controversial housing society, where a number of politicians and bureaucrats own flats.

Jan 16, 2011

One Sunday afternoon, Jairam Ramesh ordered the building demolished, as TOI reports:

Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh on Sunday recommended demolition of the tainted 31-storey Adarsh Housing Society building for flouting Coastal Regulation Zone rules.

Ramesh in his order said that the “unauthorised structure” should be removed and the area restored to its original condition within three months.

He suggested three options for the housing society — either demolish the entire structure or raze the floors which were illegal and could not have been allowed even if FSI (floor space index) was taken and taking over the building for a public cause. The minister said he chose the first option.

Ramesh also said, “It is immaterial whether the Adarsh Society was aware of requirement to seek clearance under Coastal Regulation Zone rules. Ignorance of law can never be an excuse for non-compliance.”

On the same day Mr. Tiwari told the press about his decision not to go gently into the night. HT reports:

Right to Information commissioner, Ramanand Tiwari, whose removal has been recommended by the state government on grounds of misconduct in the Adarsh Housing society scam will meet the governor K Sankarnarayan on Sunday. “The governor has granted an appointment to Tiwari,’’ said a spokesperson for Raj Bhavan. Tiwari, a retired IAS officer, who was the urban development department secretary in the state secretariat when the controversial Adarsh society files were approved will meet the Governor at 4 pm.

Tiwari, defiant despite state government recommendations has continued to attend office as state information commissioner. He said he has so far not got any intimation from the government asking him not to report for work.

He is likely to present his defence and refute charges of misconduct in the scam before the governor.

Jan 29, 2011

Sify reported that the CBI has finally filed the first information report on the Adarsh case after being prodded by the court:

In an embarrassment to the ruling Democratic Front government, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Saturday named former chief minister Ashok Chavan besides 13 persons in its detailed FIR lodged in the Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society scam, official sources said here.

The FIR makes a mention of Chavan, but he is not named as an accused in the case.

Besides Chavan, the FIR also names another 13 persons, including politician Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, former Mumbai collector Pradeep Vyas, a former major general M.M. Wanchu and R.C. Thakur, in the report filed before a Mumbai court Saturday afternoon, the sources said.

When contacted, CBI Western Region Director Rishi Raj Singh declined to officially comment on the issue of Chavan’s name in the report.

The development comes in the wake of the Bombay High Court seeking to know what action the CBI had taken in the matter without registering a FIR into the case.

At a hearing Jan 18, the high court had directed the investigating agency to do file the FIR in the case within two weeks.

Jan 30, 2011

NDTV reports:

A day after the CBI filed its FIR in the Adarsh Society scam, in which former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan was named along with 12 others, the agency today conducted raids at the residences of five of the accused.

The CBI raided the premises of R C Thakur, the Chief Promoter of the society and a former Defence Estates officer, Brigadier (retired) M M Wanchu, President of Adarsh Society, Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, Ex Congress MLC and Co-Promoter of Adarsh Society, Ramanand Tiwari, former Principal Secretary of the Urban Development Department, and former Deputy Secretary P V Deshmukh.

The raids were conducted across Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nagpur and even Madhubani in Bihar.

The CBI says incriminating documents have been seized during these raids. Files, laptops and computer hard disks have been seized by the officials at various places where the raids were conducted. Kanhaiyalal Gidwani has also been questioned, they add.

Feb 16, 2011

Sify reported:

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday said if the Adarsh housing society building in Mumbai was constructed “illegally” then it should be demolished.

“If the building was built illegally, it should be demolished,” he said at the NDTV Indian of the Year awards here.

Chavan was appointed as the Chief Minister after his predecessor Ashok Chavan resigned as his name also surfaced in the scam.

The Environment ministry has said that the 31-storey building located in Mumbai’s upmarket locality at Colaba, was unauthorised and had been built after flouting Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules.

March 24, 2011

India Today reports:

An army court of inquiry (CoI) into Mumbai’s Adarsh Housing Society scam has indicted former chiefs Gen Deepak Kapoor and Gen N.C. Vij.

The CoI also indicted four lieutenant generals and three major generals. The officers indicted include Lt Gen G.S. Sihota, Lt Gen P.K. Rampal, Lt Gen Shantanu Choudhry, Lt Gen Tejinder Singh, Maj Gen Ram Kanwar Hooda, Maj Gen A.R. Kumar, Major Gen V.S. Yadav and Maj Gen Tej Kishen Kaul.

The CoI found the conduct of the officers blameworthy. It said that prima facie culpability had been exposed and it was now for the CBI to probe the matter.

The army submitted its CoI report to the defence ministry last week.

4 June, 2012

IBN Live reports:

Days after the special CBI court granted bail to seven accused in the Adarsh Society scam, two more accused have filed their bail applications. Former city civic chief Jairaj Phatak and former state chief information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari approached the sessions court on Monday, saying the CBI has not filed the charge sheet even 60 days after their arrest.

If Phatak and Tiwari are also granted bail, then all the accused in the case would be out on bail. Earlier on May 29, the sessions court granted bail to seven accused – IAS officer Pradeep Vyas, former deputy secretary in urban development department PV Deshmukh, Brigadier (retd) MM Wanchoo, retired Defence Estates Officer RC Thakur, Major General (Retd) AR Kumar, Major Gen (Retd) TK Kaul and former MLC Kanhaiyyalal Gidwani – after they moved their bail in the sessions court on the same ground.

All the accused have been charged with criminal conspiracy under IPC and various sections under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act.


3 Responses

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  1. […] the second time the state has had a new chief minister since this blog started! The previous government fell because of the Adarsh housing society scandal. One hopes that the change of guard is not all; it is […]

  2. […] Bombay High Court sat on a case pertaining to the Adarsh Housing Society scam, and immediately generated foreworks as IE reports: Pulling up the Maharashtra government, the […]

    Less Adarsh « Karela Fry

    December 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm

  3. […] There is a long back-story available. […]

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