Tuesday, May 21, 2013

ADARSH CHS SCAM: State continues to delay opening Adarsh report

Oppn Wants Document Made Public At Earliest

Mumbai: A day after the state appointed Adarsh judicial commission presented its 700-page report on the controversy to the chief secretary, the government on Friday continued to delay opening the document. This despite the scam having rocked the defence, political and bureaucratic establishments, and the nation being shocked by the ease with which flats in a residential complex meant for serving and retired defence personnel and their kin were sold to bureaucrats, politicians and their kin.

It has taken the panel over two years to complete its report on the controversy that led to a chief minister resigning and 14 high-profile figures, including serving and retired bureaucrats and military officers, being chargesheeted by the CBI.Of the14, nine were arrested. They included two retired major generals, a retired brigadier, four serving and retired bureaucrats, a retired defence estates officer and a former MLC. The MLC, Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, who was also arrested for allegedly bribing to get information about the probe,diedin November.

Despite all this urgency, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan – who stepped into the shoes of Ashok Chavan, a casualty of the scam – has yet to open the report of the high-level probe he himself ordered. The CM said on Friday: “We have received the report. We will open it in a day or two in the presence of the chief secretary and senior bureaucrats of the general administration and law and judiciary departments.” Prithviraj Chavan said he would seek legal opinion on whether the report should be put up on the internet. The setting up of the commission was announced in both state houses in December 2010. “Instead of waiting till the monsoon session, we feel that we should put it up on the website. All will depend on legal opinion,” he said.

Leader of the opposition Eknath Khadse said that since the report was itself submitted solate, it should be made public as early as possible in the larger public interest. Simultaneously, it should be displayed on the net, he said. “We feel that the CM should not wait till the monsoon session to make the entire report available to the aam aadmi,” Khadse said.

In the wake of a series of reports in TOI beginning on October 25, 2010, the CM setup the commission headed by Justice JA Patilon January 8,2011 and the CBI filed a criminal case on January 29,2011.

The panel was given 13 terms of reference, including ascertaining ownership of land, deciding whether there was a reservation for defence personnel or Kargil heroes and whether any public servant had given clearances to the society as a quid pro quo.

In an interim report last year, the commission had already submitted that the land belonged to the state. Sources said the final report has focused moréon the quid pro quo issue and directly blames bureaucrats and politicians for securing flats in the names of sons, daughter and other relatives.

A moot question concerns the observations made with regard to former CMs Ashok Chavan, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushilkumar Shinde. Unconfirmed reports say that no major strictures have been passed against them, though Ashok Chavan (who was revenue minister at one time) has been accused of allotting flats to relatives, while Deshmukh and Shinde have been blamed for procedural lapses.

If there is no major blot against Ashok Chavan, it could pave the way for his political rehabilitation.
Prafulla Marpakwar TNN

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