In a major development, the Bombay High Court on Friday ordered the demolition of scam-tainted Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society building located in south Mumbai.
Adarsh is a 31-storey building in Colaba in South Mumbai whose apartments were intended for war veterans and widows, but were allegedly grabbed by politicians, defence officers and bureaucrats.
Congress’ Ashok Chavan was forced to quit as Maharashtra Chief Minister the same year, after it was revealed that three of his relatives had also been given apartments in the building.
The court, however, gave the housing society 12 weeks to appeal in the Supreme Court.
The state and environment authorities objected to the stay.
The court also directed the state to initiate criminal prosecution against officers involved in the scam and to restore the plot. The order to raze the building comes after the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) passed an order to demolish the scam-hit society in 2011, following which its members approached the Bombay High Court challenging it. The ministry had on January 16, 2011 directed the Society to demolish within three months the “unauthorised” building for violating coastal regulations.
The Adarsh Commission report which was partially accepted by the government in December 2014, had indicted several top bureaucrats, politicians and defense persons.
The BJP has welcomed the decision calling the building a symbol of corruption.
Originally, conceived as a six storey structure to house Kargil war heroes and widows, Adarsh was accorded additional Floor Space Index, taking the total number of flats to 102. The list of violations includes cases of 22 benami flats. For instance, there was no environmental clearance for the scheme.
The report said, “The Adarsh CHS had never applied to the Ministry of Environment and Forests for Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance through the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority.”