The Bombay High Court Tuesday set a deadline for the state government to provide missing files to the HC-appointed committee inquiring into irregularities on the allotment of flats under the chief minister’s discretionary quota.
Failing this, the one-man committee is free to draw its own inferences, said Justices Abhay S Oka and Revti Mohite Dere. A committee under retired High Court Justice J A Patil is looking into the alleged illegalities. In its report of May 7, the committee said the Urban Development Department sent the 9,204 files with applications made by the allottees sans the CM’s approval. In response, affidavits were filed by the Housing and Urban Development departments in the court Tuesday.
Principal secretary of the Urban Development department, Nitin Kareer, while replying to the committee’s grievance, said that such allotments were made on the basis of lists received by the “competent authority”.
This authority includes heads of the nine agglomerates where allotments were made. “…in such cases, applications wouldn’t be available in files at government level,” he says. Kareer goes on to say that in some cases, the list of allottees has been “received directly” from the office of the chief minister. Reasoning further, he says that the Mantralaya fire in 2012, and the fact that the subject was the General Administration Department’s prerogative prior to 2000, should be noted.
On the other hand, the Housing Department principal secretary Shreekant Singh says that his department has handed over 1,087 files to the committee. “In addition, over 430 flats are vacant and not allotted to any beneficiary under the 2 per cent quota”, he said.
Advocate General Anil Singh further informed that seven flats, as opposed to 1,200 claimed earlier, had been surrendered as a result of 15 FIRs against the double allottees.
Singh clarified that the earlier claim included vacant flats. The committee will have to submit its final report by October 15, 2015, said the court.
“The government officials associated with the committee’s investigation need not wait for its report, but are free to set criminal law in motion in case they stumble upon any suppression of facts,” the bench directed.