Adarsh scam: HC asks state, CBI to coordinate probe

Adarsh scam: HC asks state, CBI to coordinate probe

By 12011911

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked CBI and Maharashtra Police to coordinate the probe into Adarsh Housing Society scam.

A division bench of justices A M Khanwilkar and A P Bhangale also asked the state to provide all infrastructure, and extend necessary cooperation to CBI.

Social activist Simpreet Singh filed a PIL, saying that since both CBI and state police were involved in the probe, it may create issues of jurisdiction “which might hamper the probe".

The PIL demands that entire probe be handed to CBI, because the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau “could come under pressure" since political big-wigs are involved in the scam.

But today additional solicitor general Darius Khambata, representing CBI, told the court that the agency had already started the probe following a reference from the defence ministry and “it is not limited to ownership of the land".

The land, on which the controversial buildings stands, allegedly belonged to the army, and the society initially promised to provide flats to widows of Kargil martyrs.

Situated in upscale south Mumbai, it allegedly violated restrictions on construction in coastal area.

CBI also handed its “preliminary investigation register" to court.

The court said that the agency must be given some time to probe further, and asked both the state and agency to “formulate a mechanism" for conducting probe.

Hearing has been adjourned till 20 December 20.

Navy says huge number of plots encroached upon

Meanwhile the Navy has found that a “huge number" of its plots were encroached upon, a top Navy official said today.

“We have started the exercise of identifying plots, its owner and the acquisition...whether they belong to defence or revenue department. We are checking all the records of land holdings to ascertain whether it is in jurisdiction of defence or revenue department. We will be reclaiming all our defence land," Western Naval Command chief Vice Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin told reporters on board aircraft carrier INS Viraat.

“A huge number of our plots are encroached upon, like in Mumbai’s Navy Nagar, Geeta Nagar, Ganesh Murti Nagar and Sunder Nagar areas and also at Kalyan in neighbouring Thane district," he said.

On the Geeta Nagar plot, the Maharashtra Government had assured that the slum dwellers would be rehabilitated under the SRA scheme by 2011, he said. The Kalyan plot is encroached by farmers for agriculture, he said.

“It is believed that the land is in possession of the defence but it is still not clear who is the actual owner of the plot. So the matter is in the court. The owner is either the defence or the revenue department of the state government," Bhasin said, commenting on the Adarsh housing issue.

The issue needs to be resolved. There are irregularities in sanctioning, allotment and the environmental CRZ clearance. These issues are now being looked at, he said.

Asked why the Navy took such a long time to take cognisance of the Adarsh scam, he said, “I agree that somebody should have taken a note of the fact that such a huge building was coming up."

“It (Adarsh) is a subjudiced matter now, so it would not be appropriate for me to say what should have been done or not," the officer said.

Asserting that action would be taken against any Navy officer found involved in the scam, Bhasin said, “We are not holding any internal enquiry yet and are relying on the CBI enquiry."