The Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra government to extend till November 30 the tenure of a one-man panel appointed to probe the alleged irregularities in allotment of flats under the Chief Minister’s discretionary housing quota since 1982.
The direction was given by Justices Abhay Oka and V L Achilya who acted on a request made by the committee.
The bench, on October 9, last year, had appointed Justice J A Patil, a retired judge of the high court, to probe the allegations of double or multiple allotment of flats in a public interest litigation filed by activist KetanTirodkar.
The HC had asked the committee to probe the allegations and file a report before it. The tenure of this committee was to end on October 15, this year.
The secretary of the Justice J A Patil Committee today placed a letter before the court seeking more time on the ground that the work involved was of a great magnitude.
The letter further said that Justice Patil had already started writing the report and he would conclude by October 31. However, some more time was needed to wind up the matter.
While extending the tenure of the committee to November 30, the bench appreciated the voluntary gesture of Justice Patil of not drawing salary for the period of extended tenure.
The PIL, posted for hearing on November 19, alleged that many people got more than one flat under the CM’s quota by making false declarations. It also said most beneficiaries are politicians or those who are close to politicians.
Pending recommendations by this committee, the high court had earlier asked the state to continue its ongoing action against those who got the flats by filing false affidavits.
The judges had also asked such beneficiaries to return the flats or pay up the price if they have sold off the flats.
The court had ordered that the government must ensure that those who have got multiple flats hand over the possession back to the authorities.
The HC has asked the Patil committee to scrutinise all the applications for flats since 1982, and look for the cases where a single person has got more than one flat.
The government has filed FIRs against 27 people for getting flats fraudulently, the court was informed.
The allotment under the CM’s quota has now been stopped following the court’s order. Under the scheme, the flats were supposed to be given to freedom fighters, art personalities and sports persons.