The CBI on Tuesday made two more arrests in the Adarsh Housing Society scam,picking up suspended senior IAS officer Jairaj Phatak and former chief information commissioner Ramanand Tiwari after questioning them through the day. The latest arrests have taken the total number of people arrested in connection with the scandal to nine.
The CBIs FIR in the case has named another five as accused in the case,including former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan.
Phatak and Tiwari were first detained by the agency and interrogated for several hours on their alleged role in the scam,after which they were formally arrested at around 6 pm. The two are accused of having used their authority during their tenure as BMC commissioner and principal secretary to the state Urban Development Department,respectively,to grant permissions to the controversial society in violation of rules.
According to the FIR filed by the CBI in the case in January last year,Phatak illegally regularised the construction of an additional floor in the building without referring to the civic bodys High Rise Committee. Tiwari,along with another accused Subhash Lalla,is alleged to have facilitated the transfer of Floor Space Index (FSI) from the adjoining BEST plot to the Adarsh building. Lalla was then working as the principal secretary to the chief minister.
In an affidavit filed before the two-member Adarsh judicial commission,the present civic chief had claimed that members of the society,led by former Congress MLC Kanhaiyalal Gidwani,personally met Phatak in October 2009 and put forward their plea to construct an additional floor.
Tiwari has also been accused of sending misleading letters to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) on issues pertaining to the development of the plot. Phataks son Kanishka was allotted a flat in the society,as was Tiwaris son Onkar.
Last month,the CBI had arrested retired Majors-General T K Kaul and A R Kumar,retired defence estates officer R C Thakur and Brigadier (retd) M M Wanchoo. Government officials already behind bars in the case are former deputy secretary to the state urban development department P V Deshmukh and former city collector Pradeep Vyas.
Meanwhile,a special CBI court on Tuesday extended the judicial custody of the seven people already arrested until April 17. Phatak and Tiwari will be lodged at Arthur Road jail on Tuesday night and produced before the court on Wednesday.
Also,in its reply to Thakurs bail application,the CBI stated that investigations have revealed that he had facilitated financing to eight members of the society from a private company SAN Finance without any agreement between the members and the company. The CBI claims that the eight members are not capable of repaying the finance and says that it suspects that their flats are benami of either Thakur or the financer.