Sushil Kumar Shinde named in Adarsh scam

Shinde accorded illegal financial favours to the project

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | November 15, 2010



The Adarsh scam has become a downward spiral for the Congress in Maharashtra with another chief minister being named in connection with it.

Ex- IPS officer and advocate Y P Singh has named former chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde as having accorded the proprietors of the property financial favours outside the norm.

In two separate complaints filed with the State Anti Corruption Bureau detailing documentary evidence, Shinde is accused of taking special interest in the Adarsh society case.

Citing documentary evidence against Sushil Kumar Shinde and his affiliates in his written complaint submitted to the state's anti corruption bureau on 13 November, Singh has asked for converting his complaint into FIR (against Shinde action under section 120-B, 409, 420, 467,471 of IPC and section 13 (1) (d) read with section 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988).

Singh has also stated that Ashok Chavan’s role in Adarsh society scam was limited to the fact that he had requested for private members to be included besides Kargil war widows for allotment of flats.

Along with Shinde, Singh has also included names of two former principal secretaries of the urban development department Subhash Lalla and Ramanand Tiwari, who is now a state information commissioner, R C Joshi, former revenue secretary, Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, MLC and R C Thakur, chief promoter of Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society of acts of malfeasance, criminal misconduct, falsification of documents cheating, fraud and corruption in the matter of deleting BEST plot reservation and allotment of flats to members to of Adarsh Cooperative Society.

In a criminal conspiracy during the period of enforcement of the election code of conduct from August 24, 2004, Shinde violating election laws, rushed to affect 51 names for membership of Adarsh Society in a span of one day. As chief minister of Maharshtra, Shinde inter alia signed the said file that moved 11 times on the same day from revenue department to chief minister’s secretariat, and back with “each officer applying its mind” says the complaint.

Back dated file noting were entered by ante dating the date of August 23, 2004. Joint secretary, Ramakant Asmar overwrote and changed the date from ‘24’ to ‘23’.

Singh alleges that contrary to rules followed in all the similar cases, revenue secretary R C Joshi did not submit the case to revenue minister. The matter was not even referred to finance department. There are no outward and inward entries as is the case when a file moves from Revenue Department to Chief Ministers Secretariat.

After preparing fake file noting on August 23, 2004 illegal allotment of flats to 51 members was made on 24th August 2004, the day election code of conduct came into force amounting to offence under section 171-B of the Indian Penal Code and Corrupt Practice under section 123(1) of the Representation of the People’s Act. 1951.

Precipitating the illegality, around September 16, 2004, during the time when the code of conduct was on, Shinde further approved the noting issuing grant of land at 20% of market value . The file which was to be routed to the revenue minister was bypassed by the revenue secretary R C Joshi and put up directly before the chief minister.

Government resolution had been breached by giving domicile concessions to several people as against the rules stipulated by finance department.

Further, a request by Adarsh society to further reduce 20% of market value of flats for lesser income group was approved by the CM. It avoided reference to the finance department since the matter concerned foregoing revenue.

Manipulations were further effected to appropriate loot.Lalla got two flats in the names of his mother and daughter by manipulating documents. His mother, Sushila Shaligram’s occupation was shown as an officer in military engineering services while the collector's inquiry revealed her to be a housewife. To obtain a bigger flat her monthly income was changed to Rs 10,000 per month as against Rs 2000 mentioned earlier. To camouflage her identity her surname Lalla was removed.

Similarly, in the case of his daughter Sumeela Sethi, to get a bigger flat her income was shown Rs 10,000. Reckoning the total family income as per government resolution, no mention was made of her husband’s income so that the eligibility criterion of total family income exceeding the amount of Rs 12,500 was not lost.

Another questionable allotment was done in the case of Major N W Khankhoje whose income was shown as Rs 11,699. Here the rule of waiting list was broken to include him as a member of Adarsh society.

Taking cognizance of official records, Singh also alleged complicity of Ramanad Tiwari who joined as secretary, urban development department on February 26, 2002. On March 3, 2006 Tiwari illegally and fraudulently invoked powers under section 50 (2) of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 to transfer the FSI of 2669.63 Sq Mts BEST plot akin to TDR to Adarsh society plot much against threshold limit of 1.33 so that 12 extra floors could be constructed.

Section 50 is used in the rarest of the rare cases where the public authority does not require the land for its use. In this case BEST had written to the government that it requires the land for access to Backbay Depot. The said plot was used as an access road by BEST . As per CRZ rules the area on account of “means of access” had to be deducted from FSI. Going by the criteria the said plot did not have an FSI thus transfer of FSI was illegal.

Transfer of FSI from one plot to another without the building physically using the plot in the same compound from where the FSI was generated amounts to creation of transfer of development rights. TDR is not permitted at all in Mumbai city and Suburbs of the city in areas affected by Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991 (except Heritage TDR).

Later in a meeting held in Adarsh society on February 19, 2007, Tiwari included his son Onkar Tiwari as member of the society and that entitled him to a get flat in the society for 60 lakhs against its market value of 8 crores. Here too, to fit his son into criteria as set in Government Resolution of 9th July 1999, Tiwari fabricated documents to fudge his son’s occupation.

Onkar was employed in the private sector and earned an income of more than 12,500, hence he did not meet relevant government resolution which stipulated that non government service category income had to be less than 12,500 per month. Instead of writing “non government servant category in private service” his occupation was entered as ‘service’ and proof of residence shown as staying with father.

Further, against a normal tenure of three years as stipulated in Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfer and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Duties Act, 2005, Tiwari stayed as the urban development secretary for six years and three months from Feburary 26, 2002 to May 16, 2008 perpetrating corruption and illegal acts.

Singh categorically stated that only the state anti corruption bureau has statutory powers to handle the case. CBI powers are limited to army and navy cases only. Until Maharashtra government passes a resolution to hand over the case to CBI the case cannot be handed over to the central investigating agency.

Meanwhile when contacted, K. Subramanyam , Additional Director General, Anti Corruption Bureau, Maharashtra who earlier said that the complaint has been received and the agency is thinking about further course of action later stated that the matter has already gone to the CBI and ACB will not get involved.

P Kandaswami, DIG of CBI said that due to the involvement and state and central government employees the case has been handed over to the CBI.

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