Initiate probe if Adarsh Committee report raises questions: Milind Deora

New Delhi, Dec.24: Congress leader Milind Deora on Tuesday said that if a report prepared by a government-appointed inquiry committee has raised questions about the Adarsh Housing Society, there is a need to investigate and get to the bottom of the whole episode.

In a tweet, Deora said: “If the Adarsh Committee report raises questions, we should investigate (agnostic of party or bureaucracy), answer them and not be hush!”

Deora’s statement came four days after the Maharashtra Government had rejected a report of a judicial commission on the Adarsh Housing Society scam.

The government was expected to table the Adarsh Commission report in the state assembly in Nagpur on December 20.

Earlier, Maharashtra Governor K Shankaranarayanan had refused to give permission to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to prosecute former Maharashtra chief minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan.

Over the weekend, opposition parties flayed the Government of Maharashtra for rejecting the report that indicts four former state chief ministers.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) accused the Congress Party of protecting corrupt people.

“The Congress Party wants to take credit for the passage of Lokpal Bill to fight corruption. They have honoured the corrupt within a week of the enactment of the Lokpal. The Congress government has protected those who should have been imprisoned,” said CPI lawmaker Atul Anjan in New Delhi.

A section of media had reported that the government had rejected final report of the commission that probed the Adarsh housing society scam because it named senior Congress leaders such as former chief ministers Ashok Chavan, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Shivajirao Nilangekar and some Nationalist Congress Party politicians.

The BJP termed the incident unfortunate. “The government-appointed commission had indicted these people in the Adarsh (housing) scam. It is very unfortunate that the government protected them instead of prosecuting them.

The Bharatiya Janata Party will fight against it,” said BJP leader Balbir Punj.

Union Heavy Industry Minister Praful Patel played it down and said the issue should not be stretched further. “The Maharashtra Cabinet has already given clean chit. So, I think let’s not stretch things too far,” he said.

The Adarsh Housing Society is a cooperative society in Mumbai. The origins of the scam go back to February 2002 when a request was made to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to allot land in the heart of Mumbai for the construction of a housing complex for “the welfare of serving and retired personnel of the Defence Services”.

Over a period of ten years, top politicians, bureaucrats and military officers proceeded to bend several rules and perpetrate various acts of omission and commission in order to have the building constructed and then get themselves allotted flats on this premier property at artificially lowered prices.

As the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India to the President of India in 2011 put it, “The episode of Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society reveals how a group of select officials, placed in key posts, could subvert rules and regulations in order to grab prime government land- a public property- for personal benefit.”

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are in the process of investigating allegations that three former chief ministers, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Ashok Chavan of the state of Maharashtra were also involved in the scam.

The Adarsh society high-rise was constructed in the Colaba locality of Mumbai, which is considered a sensitive coastal area by the Indian Defence forces and houses various Indian Defense establishments.

The society is also alleged to have violated the Indian environment ministry rules.

Several inquiries have been ordered by the army and the Government to probe into the irregularities. (ANI)