Maharashtra tables Adarsh scam report, rejects it

Nagpur, Dec 20: In an anti-climax, the Maharashtra government tabled the much-anticipated Adarsh Society scam probe report – which accuses politicians of indulging in brazen violations and manipulations of rules and regulations – in the assembly and then rejected it.

The report – by a two-member commission comprising former high court judge J.A. Patil and former chief secretary P. Subramanium – has described the scam as reeking of “greed, nepotism and favouritism” by those in authority who twisted laws, setting “a bad precedent”.

“The decision to reject the findings of the inquiry commission was taken by the cabinet in the interest of the people,” Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan told media persons later, but without giving details.

However, the cabinet has accepted the first part of the report which deals with the ownership of the plot, and holds the land is owned by the state government and there was no plan whatsoever to construct any building for housing war veterans or Kargil widows.

The portion – which charges various politicians, including those from the ruling Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), as well as top bureaucrats, for transgressing rules and regulations to get requisite clearances – has been rejected outright.

Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, cried foul with state president Devendra Fadnavis alleging “the corrupt face of the Congress-NCP has been exposed” by the rejection.

The report had been submitted to the state government last year but not tabled on various grounds despite persistent demands by the opposition parties.

It was only after the Bombay High Court sought to know the government’s stand on the issue last week that the government gave an oral assurance that it would be tabled in the current session – which ended Friday.

Speaking about the political patronage enjoyed by the society, the report said it was backed by former chief ministers – late Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde (now home minister), Ashok Chavan and Shivajirao Patil-Nilangekar – besides two former ministers Sunil Tatkare and Rajesh Tope.

The commission has also asked the state government to inquire into the “benami” (proxy) ownership of several flats in the controversial 31-storeyed building in south Mumbai.

Its probe says that from the 102 members, at least 22 “benami” purchases were made and 25 others were found not eligible to become members of the society.

The ineligible members include senior NCP leader and former assembly speaker Babasaheb Kupekar, former Shiv Sena MP and minister Suresh Prabhu, three relatives of former CM Chavan, and Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade.

Interestingly, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), also probing the scam, got a jolt when Governor K. Sankaranarayanan rejected its request to prosecute Chavan.

Chavan was the only former CM named by the CBI in its chargesheet along with 12 others for criminal conspiracy, misconduct and cheating under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

He was forced to relinquish office after the scam broke out Oct 2010.

IANS