SC seeks Centre's response on maintenance of Adarsh Society

The Adarsh scam kicked up a huge political storm after it surfaced in 2010, leading to the resignation of then Congress Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre, which has been handed over the possession of the 28-storey scam-tainted building, to respond to the plea of the Adarsh Co-operative Society on maintenance of the structure.

The housing society has sought a direction to the Military Engineering Services (MES), the custodian of the building, to ensure proper maintenance of facilities like lifts, generators and fire fighting equipment of the building as the office bearers of the society and flat owners have been barred from entering the premises by the apex court.

A bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar and AM Sapre, which had asked the housing society to consider bearing the expenses to be incurred on maintenance, today sought views of the Centre and asked it to mull over appointing an army officer for the purpose.

"They (housing society) have hope that they will succeed in near future...People have homes and they want to maintain lifts...You (Centre) should consider appointing a responsible person to look into the issue," the bench said while posting the matter after two weeks.

The apex court had earlier asked the society to consider bearing the expenses to be incurred on maintenance of the 28- storey building whose possession has been handed over to the Centre in pursuance to the apex court's order.

The apex court had on July 22 asked the Centre to secure possession of Adarsh apartments, built at Colaba in posh South Mumbai locality, for Kargil heroes and war widows, after taking its possession from the housing society by August 5.

The bench had also said that the word "secure" meant that there will be no razing of the building.


It had also issued notices on a batch of pleas, filed against the Bombay High Court decision ordering demolition, by the housing society and some allottees.

Earlier, the High Court had ordered demolition of the apartments and sought initiation of criminal proceedings against politicians and bureaucrats for "misuse" of powers, holding that the tower was illegally constructed.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar had said the building was built on defence land and the Director of Military Estate or his nominee would take over its possession.

The High Court, while ordering demolition, had stayed the operation for 12 weeks of its order to pull it down to enable the society to move the apex court with the appeal.

In its order, the HC bench had asked the Ministry of Environment and Forest to carry out the demolition at the expense of petitioners (Adarsh Society).

It had also asked the Centre and Maharashtra Government to consider initiating civil and criminal proceedings against bureaucrats, ministers and politicians for misuse and abuse of power to get plots under the scheme, originally meant for Kargil war heroes and war widows.

The Adarsh scam kicked up a huge political storm after it surfaced in 2010, leading to the resignation of then Congress Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.

In 2011, the state government had set up a two-member judicial commission headed by Justice J A Patil to inquire into the scam.

After probing the issue for over two years, it submitted its report in 2013, which found that there were 25 illegal allotments including 22 purchases made by proxy.

Later, the CBI, the Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) also investigated the scam.

In January 2011, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest had issued a demolition order mainly on the ground that the society did not have CRZ clearance.

Adarsh Society had filed a petition in 2011 in the Bombay High Court challenging the demolition order issued by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The Defence Ministry had also filed a petition in the high court seeking implementation of its demolition order, besides filing a title suit in the high court claiming it was the owner of the plot on which the plush Adarsh Society building stands in South Mumbai.

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