Adarsh scam: Two IAS officers suspended

The CBI arrested seven people in the last two days in relation to the multi-crore Adarsh Housing Society scam.

Zeenews Bureau

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Thursday informed the Bombay High Court that two senior IAS officers - Pradeep Vyas and Jairaj Phatak - have been placed under suspension pending investigation in the Adarsh Housing Society scam.

Notably, Vyas was the collector of Mumbai and Phatak was City Municipal Commissioner when the scam took place.

According to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Vyas (49), during his tenure as Collector from August 2002 to May 2005, allegedly connived with other accused and accepted false documents as proof of income and granted membership to those who were not eligible.

His wife Seema Vyas, also an IAS officer, has a flat in the posh Adarsh building.

Vyas, a 1989 batch officer, was arrested for his alleged role in the scam yesterday.

Phatak is alleged to have allowed the height of the building in upmarket Colaba to be raised beyond 100 metres without the approval of the High-Rise Committee of the municipal body. His son received a flat in the Adarsh Society building allegedly as quid pro quo.

The High Court is hearing a batch of public interest litigations filed by social activists Simpreet Singh and Pravin Wategaonkar seeking monitoring of the probe by the High Court and invoking provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the case.

The CBI arrested seven people in the last two days in relation to the multi-crore scam.

The seven accused arrested include Vyas, former senior Army officers RC Thakur, MM Wanchu, AR Kumar and TK Kaul, a former senior bureaucrat PV Deshmukh, a former member of Legislative Assembly Kanhaiyalal Gidwani.

The Bombay High Court had on March 12 rapped CBI for not initiating action against government officials involved in the Adarsh society scam. "Why have you (the CBI) not arrested any of the accused yet? Are you feeling shy or are you just protecting the accused? If prima facie case is made out against anyone, then action should be taken irrespective of who that person is. Delay in such cases can be dangerous," the court had said.

The scam claimed the job of former chief minister Ashok Chavan after allegations surfaced of collusion between bureaucrats and politicians to corner flats in the building. The flats were originally meant for widows and heroes of the 1999 Kargil conflict.

Another former chief minister, Vilasraso Dekshmukh, has also been accused of allotting flats meant for war veterans to their relatives. Deshmukh is currently the science and technology minister at the centre.

(With Agencies` inputs)

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