Probe panel to review building projects cleared by ex-SRA chief

Some accusations were levelled against approvals granted by Patil in the last couple of months, although the retired bureaucrat has refuted these charges.

Written by Sandeep Ashar | Mumbai | Published:July 18, 2017 3:36 am

The Maharashtra government has formally appointed a committee under Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) chief Deepak Kapoor to review all the decisions taken by his predecessor Vishwas Patil since April 1 this year.

Patil, a 1996-batch IAS officer, retired from service in the same post on June 30. Some accusations were levelled against approvals granted by Patil in the last couple of months, although the retired bureaucrat has refuted these charges.

The decision to formally appoint a committee to inspect all files sanctioned since April was taken on Monday, after a preliminary report in this regard was submitted to the government.

According to the report, Patil’s office has cleared 147 files in all between April 1 and June 30. Letters of intent (LOIs) were issued to 12 new construction projects — eight slum rehabilitation projects and four others involving construction of transit camps — approved during the period. This collectively involved the construction of 2,261 tenements. But questions are mainly being raised over 24 other construction projects where proposals for granting ‘conditional LOIs’ were approved during the period.

Sources, however, pointed out that the orders had not been communicated to the beneficiary parties in these cases. Besides these, there were 65 ongoing projects where revised LOIs were approved, but orders had not been issued. The remaining 48 files that were cleared dealt with proposals for grant of occupation permissions to completed projects, approvals to building layouts, extending permission to construct further in ongoing projects, and issuance of acceptance letters to new schemes.

Sources said that the review committee under Kapoor also comprises government’s town planners, legal advisors, and SRA architects. The committee has been asked to mainly examine proposals where LOIs or conditional LOIs were granted. Since the allegations were first raised, Patil has been maintaining that he hasn’t done anything wrong, and that he was a victim of baseless accusations.

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