Nagpur: "There was certainly a nexus between the acts of" former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan and "benefits derived by his close relatives", the judicial inquiry commission on Adarsh housing scam has said.
In its 891-page report, the panel, set up by the state government in early 2011, also found fault with former Chief Ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde and Shivajirao Nilangekar Patil over the way issues of land allotment and grant of construction right were handled.
Membership of the 31-storey Adarsh Housing Society building in south Mumbai was not an "open affair" and clearances for the residential highrise were given on "quid pro quo" (give and take) basis, the two-member panel has said.
Three close relatives of Chavan were granted membership of the society during his tenure (December 2008 to November 2010).
Chavan handled the Adarsh file as Revenue Minister in 2002 and later allegedly asked the housing society to take 40 per cent members from civilian category, when it was originally meant only for war veterans, it said.
"There was certainly a nexus between the acts of Chavan and benefits derived by his close relatives. The membership process clearly indicates that grant of requisite permission by Chavan was by way of quid pro quo," it said.
According to the commission, whose report was tabled in Assembly yesterday, membership to the housing society was not open for general public and it was controlled by a small coterie.
"A few lords or coterie of the Adarsh like former MLC late Kanhaiyalal Gidwani and R C Thakur (a defence estate cadre officer) played vital and effective role in proposing the names of the new members of the society. They had a final say in the matter of proposing names of members."
The commission said certain submissions made by Deshmukh before it were found to be incorrect. Deshmukh, as Chief Minister, had sanctioned additional FSI (floor space index or construction right) for the building.
This was done despite a similar proposal being rejected by his predecessor Shinde on November 24, 2003. "The grant of additional FSI gave a wrong message to the public that undue favour was being shown to Adarsh."
Deshmukh`s decision, after becoming Chief Minister, to clear a Letter of Intent to the promoters of the society has invited criticism.
Deshmukh also ignored propriety while approving extra construction right (FSI) and his decision was neither proper nor in public interest, the probe body maintained.
"These decisions were not proper, justifiable and in the public interest," the report noted.
Nilangekar Patil, who was Chief Minister for about 10 months (in 1985-86) and served as Revenue Minister in early years of the last decade, and Shinde erred while granting land for the housing complex.
Shinde had ignored the Finance Deparment`s remarks about the value of the leased land and failed to take Cabinet`s approval for allotment, the report said.
Nilangekar Patil, who served as Revenue Minister when the building received clearances, had displayed undue haste in approval of grant of land to the society, it said.
The Maharashtra Cabinet rejected the panel`s findings "in the interest of the people", Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said yesterday without elaborating.