SC tells Centre to take over Adarsh housing society in Mumbai before August 5, stays demolition plan
The Adarsh Society building, originally intended to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil War heroes and widows, was later transformed into a 100-metre tall tower.
Mumbai: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to take possession and secure the 31-storey controversial Adarsh apartments in Mumbai.
The court further issued notices to various stakeholders on pleas challenging the Bombay High Court order asking civic bodies to demolish it.
The Centre further gave an assurance to the court that the building would not be demolished.
"We will secure the building and the land and there will be no demolition," Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre assured the bench when the counsel for the Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society sought a stay on the demolition order of the High Court.
A bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar and AM Sapre also asked the Registrar General of Bombay High Court to ensure that either he, or a registrar nominated by him, oversee the handing over of possession of the building on or before August 05.
The bench asked the Registrar of the High Court to ensure that all the documents and records pertaining to the society are inventorised and handed over to the housing society simultaneously when Director of Military Estate or his nominee takes over the possession of the building.
"Issue notice. There shall be no interim order... Except the fact that the Government of India will take possession of the building in question within one week from today," the bench said.
However, later it extended the time for taking over the possession of the building till August 5.
Earlier on April 29, the Bombay High Court ordered demolition of the 31-storey scam-tainted Adarsh apartments in the heart of Mumbai and sought criminal proceedings against politicians and bureaucrats for "misuse" of powers, holding that the tower was illegally constructed.
However, on a plea made by the Adarsh Housing Society, a division bench later stayed its order to pull down the building close to the sea at Colaba for 12 weeks to enable it to file an appeal in the Supreme Court, despite the Maharashtra Government opposing it.
In its order, the division bench had asked the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest to carry out the demolition at the expense of petitioners (Adarsh Society).
The HC 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.
After the scam erupted in November 2010, with allegations that it had violated various environmental norms and regulations, lacked certain permissions and other issues, it claimed the job of then chief minister Ashok Chavan and several other officials.
The building, originally intended to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil War heroes and widows, was later transformed into a 100-metre tall tower in which several politicians, bureaucrats and Army officers allegedly conspired to corner flats at cheap rates.
The CBI investigations finally resulted in 13 people being charge-sheeted. Among them was Ashok Chavan, whose three relatives figured in the list of the tainted Society's members. The building remains unoccupied, without water and electricity since November 2010.
In January 2011, a two-member commission of inquiry consisting retired high court judge, Justice JA Patil, and retired chief secretary P Subrahmanyam, was also constituted but the then Congress-Nationalist Congress Party only partly accepted its recommendations.
(With Agency inputs)