Chavan again blames Deshmukh for Adarsh scam
Mumbai: Former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, named an accused in the Adarsh housing society scam, on Monday continued pointing fingers at his predecessor and Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh for decisions taken while allotting land to the controversial housing society.
Chavan, who was revenue minister during Deshmukh's tenure as chief minister from 1999 to 2003, told a judicial panel set up by the state government to probe the scam that he had only followed his predecessor's "directions" while forwarding to the revenue department the letter sent by Adarsh society seeking allotment of government land.
Adarsh society had in February 2000 addressed a letter to the chief minister seeking allotment of the land in upscale Colaba in south Mumbai to construct the building.
Deshmukh had marked the letter with a note "Please process this and put up" to the then revenue minister Chavan.
"Any letter marked by the chief minister always gets the highest priority. Even in this case, the letter marked by the CM with a personal note to me as the revenue minister is an indication of the intention of the Chief Minister. Accordingly, I marked the letter to the deputy secretary of the revenue department to put up immediately," Chavan said.
Chavan, who had to step down from the post of chief minister in 2010 after it came to light that two of his family members had flats in the building, was deposing before the Judicial Commission headed by retired high court judge J A Patil for the second day.
Even on the first day of his deposition on June 30, Chavan had pinned the blame on Deshmukh, saying only the chief minister was empowered to take a decision on allotting land to a housing society in the city and suburbs.
When Commission's counsel Dipan Merchant asked Chavan if he knew any of the members of the society, Chavan's lawyer Amit Desai raised an objection, saying he would not answer the question at this stage as the panel is presently looking into the issue of its membership.
"The commission can summon him again when it is examining witnesses on the issue of membership," Desai argued.
Chavan's mother-in-law and brother-in-law are members of the society and have two flats.