Benjamin allegedly flouted rules in granting FSI permission
Geetanjali Minhas | May 17, 2011
Maharashtra Urban Development Department (UDD) secretary T C Benjamin will be questioned for the second time by the Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) for the department’s role in granting approval for floor space index (FSI) to the controversial Adarsh housing Society.
Benjamin is alleged to have violated the rules in granting Adarsh society permission to use a portion of land for constructing additional flats in place of a recreation ground. As per construction rules, 15 percent of permitted FSI of any building coming up on plot measuring more than 2,500 square metres should be used for building a recreational ground Under the same rule Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) sanctioned FSI to Adarsh after deducting the mandatory 15 percent.
Adarsh society had on April 30, 2009 written to the then Maharashtra chief minister, Ashok Chavan, seeking permission to use this extra 15 percent for construction of additional flats saying that since the government had already provided block-wise recreation grounds (RG) in the entire Backbay Reclamation area of Cuffe Parade there was no need for deducting RG FSI in this case. The request was accepted and UDD issued a clarification to MMRDA to allow the society to use 15 percent of FSI for extra apartments.
Benjamin was earlier questioned by the agency when the files relating to the environment ministry’s Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) permission went missing. The state chief secretary and former MMRDA commissioner, Ratnakar Gaikwad, is also likely to be questioned on the FSI concession to Adarsh.
Gaikwad was MMRDA commissioner when concessions were given in 2009 while Benjamin was with the UDD.
Benjamin, who was earlier summoned for questioning by CBI on May 11 and 13, will move out of the UDD on May 21.
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