Despite two extensions,Adarsh panel far from conclusion

Halfway into its second extension,the Adarsh commission — appointed early this year to probe the controversy — still has a long way to go before it concludes its inquiry.

Written by NEERAD PANDHARIPANDE | Mumbai | Published:October 10, 2011 1:24 am

Halfway into its second extension,the Adarsh commission — appointed early this year to probe the controversy — still has a long way to go before it concludes its inquiry.

The two-member fact-finding commission,which was set up on January 8,was given a three-month extension on April 7 and subsequently a six-month extension on July 8.

Speaking to Newsline,Adarsh Society’s lawyer Saket Mone said the panel could take up to March next year to complete its inquiry. However,it could take longer if it decides to cross-examine all the allotees of the society,he said.

As of now,the commission is faced with more than 1,50,000 documents contained in 379 files,as stated by Justice J A Patil (retired) in a recent order. Apart from this,Justice Patil added that the panel is looking at more than 100 affidavits filed by different persons from time to time.

Justice Patil,the chairperson of the commission,made this statement while giving his order on whether the counsel for the commission has the authority to cross-examine witnesses.

The commission has examined 13 witnesses till now,starting with Brigadier Deepak Saxena in May and going up to R C Thakur,a former officer in the Defence Estates Department,and one of the chief promoters of the society most recently. Other important depositions before the panel include those of ex-Congress MLC Kanhaiyalal Gidwani and former Mumbai collector Pradeep Vyas.

Also,three former Maharashtra chief ministers — Sushilkumar Shinde,Vilasrao Deshmukh and Ashok Chavan — have filed affidavits before the commission.

Right to Information (RTI) activist Simpreet Singh,who played an important role in uncovering the scandal,told Newsline it is “difficult to believe” that the commission will lead to anything concrete and result in action.

“The experience,not just in Maharashtra but also in other parts of the country,is that whenever the state wants to delay action on a scam,it appoints a commission to look into it. One does not know how long it will be before the recording of evidence gets over and when the report is submitted and when the state government will act on it,” said the activist.

Singh,a member of the National Alliance for People’s Movement (NAPM),had filed RTI queries on the Adarsh society in 2008.

The query had revealed that the reservation of the Adarsh plot was changed from “parade ground” to “residential zone”,that the width of the adjoining road was decreased from 60 metres to 19 metres,and the FSI of the adjoining BEST plot was used by the society.

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