Adarsh punches bureaucrats in their faces

Hall of shame: Revelations have shaken common mans confidence in govt

Adarsh punches bureaucrats in their faces

In the eye of a storm

Tribal Development Secretary, Uttam Khobragade, had won heaps of praises from the masses when he, as the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) commissioner, took on big and mighty corporations, and as the BEST general manager, defied powerful trade unions to improve its services.

But Khobragade’s name has come up in the scam, denting the upright face he had. Devyani Khobragade, an IFS officer and daughter of Khobragade, is one of the 104 allottees of the society. She has also been the general manager of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking.

Also, it was during Khobragade’s tenure as the BEST general manager that Adarsh Society got additional building rights from an adjacent BEST bus depot. This allowed the society promoters to increase the original plan of six floors to 31 floors.

Former Mumbai municipal commissioner, Jairaj Pathak, is another such mass hero whose image has taken a beating after allegations that it was during his tenure that the BMC approved extra building rights for the Society. His son, Kanishq, has been allotted a flat in Adarsh.

Apart from Khobragade and Pathak, another bureaucrat to lose his face is Pradeep Vyas, who was the Mumbai collector when the land was handed over to the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society in 2004. His wife and IAS officer, Seema Vyas, has been allotted a flat in the Society, membership of which was processed by Pradeep Vyas.

Omkar Tiwari is another allotees with a bureaucrat connection, him being the son of Urban Development Secretary Ramanand Tiwari, who would have been privy to all communication on permissions and environmental clearances.

Media blow up

Currently, Ramanand Tiwari is the state’s information commissioner under the RTI, a law that help activists and media blow up the scandal.

The role of former Urban Development deputy secretary P V Deshmukh, who was in-charge of getting environmental clearences, is also under scanner, especially after the Union Environment Ministry stated it had not cleared the project.

Deshmukh is also charged with helping the Adarsh Society get more land by reducing the width of the road facing it. He also have got a flat in the Society in his own name.

Other officers being investigated include D K Shankaran, former state Chief Secretary, and his wife and former principal revenue secretary, Joyce. Their son, Sanjoy, has been allotted a flat in the Society.

Former Mumbai collector Indris Kundan, who scrutinised the allotments, has also allegedly got a flat in Adarsh. Other allotments being investigated by the CBI include that of Ranjit Sangitrao, son of former suburban collector C S Sangitrao, and Arun Pawar, a former Income Tax commissioner.

Promoter refuses to give up flats

Former Army chiefs and relatives of the Maharashtra chief minister have rushed in to give up their flats in the controversy-ridden Adarsh Housing Society supposedly meant for Kargil war heroes. But not its promoter Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, a Congress politician and sugar trader, reports DHNS from Mumbai.

“We have done no wrong. If it is proved the land was for Kargil War widows, I will return it. The chief minister’s relatives and generals may have returned their flats, but I know the truth.

The flats were not for Kargil widows,” Gidwani said on Sunday. The former Congress legislator said the society was formed “as per the due process and there was nothing illegal. We are ready for any kind of enquiry.”

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