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Adarsh Housing Society Scam

The Adarsh Housing Society is situated in Colaba, Mumbai and it is a 31 storey building constructed in a prime real estate location. The Adarsh Housing Society was mainly constructed for the welfare of war widows and personnel of India's Ministry of Defence. The politicians along with the officials of the government department and military officers are supposed to have formed a conspiracy and have bent a number of rules concerning land ownership, zoning, floor space index and membership. All this by- passing of the rules were done mainly to get themselves flats allotted in this cooperative society at below-market rates. It was only during November 2010 that the scam was brought to light. Once the scam was brought to the surface there was lot of question arising from the public and the opposition party of the then ruling party and this in turn made the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan, to resign.

According to a report submitted by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), "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." To investigate the scam related to the Adarsh Housing Society, a judicial commission involving two members was set up by the Maharashtra Government in January 2011. This judicial commission which involved two members was headed by the retired High Court judge Justice J. A. Patil along with N.N .Kumbhar acting as member secretary. After testifying the evidence of nearly 182 witnesses over 2 years under oath or typically in the form of a written statement, a final report was submitted by the commission to the Government of Maharashtra in April 2013. Nearly 25 illegal allotments was drawn special attention to in the report which included nearly 22 purchases made by proxy. The report also put on trial four former Chief ministers of Maharashtra namely Ashok Chavan, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde and Shivajirao Nilangekar Patil and two former Urban development ministers- Rajesh Tope and Sunil Tatkare and 12 top bureaucrats for various illegal acts.

Devyani Khobragade, an Indian Foreign Service officer was also in the list as one of the allottees. The Adarsh Housing Society was also further taken over and investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The Adarsh Housing Society has also claimed to have transgressed certain rules of the government during its construction in the Colaba locality of Mumbai. The Colaba locality is supposed to be a sensitive coastal area by the Indian Defence forces. Apart from this housing society this is the place where a number of Indian defence systems are established. The Adarsh Housing Society is also said to have breached Indian Environment ministry rules. The scam is notable for the reality that it was put into practice over a period of ten years and required the active involvement of successive officials in many crucial posts. The Adarsh Housing Society was not constructed just like that by bending iron rods and using cement but both at the centre and the state, several rules and regulations were openly disregarded and bent to further get the construction of the building happening.

Nearly Rs.7 crore of public money has been spent to get the excerpts from the Adarsh Report and this has been partially accepted by the politicians from Maharashtra. Some of the short and important extracts taken from the report submitted by the Judicial Commission are The Society was supposed to be a six-storey structure actually meant for Kargil war heroes and war widows, was converted into a 100-metre-tall building to accommodate top politicians and officers in higher cadre. Once this proposal was bounced off in 1994, C.Thakur, an officer with Defence Estates Office, became the chief promoter and Brig Wanchoo (retd) in 1994 as the secretary. The Adarsh Housing Society covered an area of about 8,300 sq meters which came under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and the rule was that no building was allowed to be constructed 500 meters from the high tide line. So the proposal was rejected in 1994 and subsequently in 1998 too. When Thakur came in touch with Kanhayalal Gidwani a highly influential Congress Person, Thakur and Wanchoo requested Gidwani to represent the case to get the required permission for the "welfare of the defence personnel". But Gidwani from his side stated that they can carry out assignment provided 30 flats should be at Gidwani's disposal. So the project work was taken on full swing.

For the first time in 2003 this issue on the Adarsh Housing Society scam was brought into light and public discussion was during 2003 when a newspaper exposed the details of the scam through its print media. But this was not of much help from the official side for there were no reaction or no further steps were taken. Once again during 2010 the issue on Adarsh Housing Society was raised by different Media like newspapers and TV channels. There were lot of questions on this issue from the media side of how the apartments in the Adarsh Housing Society were assigned to people who had nothing to do with the Kargil War for it was mainly meant for the war widows and personnel of India's Ministry of Defence. But instead most of the houses in the Adarsh Housing Society were assigned to bureaucrats, politicians and army personnel. Also no clearance certificate was obtained for the construction of the building of the Adarsh Society. As this issue on the Adarsh scam was getting intensified it even led to the resignation of the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan. Some of the current allottees of the flats in the Adarsh co-operative society building have offered to return their flats, declaring untrue allegations that they were allotted flats because they influenced or helped, in some manner, the construction of the society by not considering the rules.

The Chief of Army Staff General VK Singh during an interview to the Hindu Magazine on March 26 2012, attributed many of the attempts to speak about him in a spitefully critical manner him during his tenure to, amongst others, those he described as "the Adarsh lobby", those directly connected to the scam, as well as those who were affected by his efforts to rid the army of corruption. As already mentioned from the report of the judicial commission on Adarsh Housing Scam it was very clearly revealed that several bureaucrats and politicians, including four former CMs of Maharashtra were the key persons involved in this scam. Also earlier the state Government of Maharashtra was not willing to take in the Commission report but later it partially accepted it. The Maharashtra Government was imposed to pressure to take another look at or reconsider the judicial panel report on Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society (Adarsh CHS) scam.

Contribution to the Society
Later the Maharashtra Government made up its mind to partially accept the report and also resolved to form a Committee to confirm on further actions. The report of the two-member Commission headed by retired High Court Judge J.A. Patil came down heavily on those in authority, describing the scam as a bad legal decision or form of proceeding serving as an authoritative rule or pattern in future similar or analogous cases. The report of the two-member judicial commission had formally accused several politicians including four former Chief ministers-Ashok Chavan, late Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde and Shivajirao Nilangekar Patil-for very obvious violations of statutory provisions. This also includes a number of bureaucrats belonging to the upper level. While accepting the judicial commission report in parts, the Prithviraj Chavan-led Congress government accepted quid pro quo allegations against former Chief minister Ashok Chavan.

This web page explains the scams that occurred in India. The information are collected from the media reports. or it owners do not take any responsibility for the authenticity of the contents. Since some cases are in the court of law, we do not endorse any cases or do not conclude on the same.
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