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Acting on the Supreme Court’s order, the Army has begun the process of taking over the possession of the scam-tainted Adarsh building at Colaba in South Mumbai.
A team of Defence personnel arrived at the controversial high rise on Friday and commenced the process of officially taking over its possession from the Adarsh Housing Society, which was built in the posh locality for Kargil war heroes and war widows.
The proceedings are likely to end on Saturday. “On behalf of Government of India, Indian Army is taking over possession of the building from Adarsh Society to ensure its security and prevent any encroachment. The process is being supervised by a Registrar nominated by the Bombay High Court,” a defence spokesperson said in the statement.
On July 22, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to “secure” (which meant there will be no razing) the 31-storeyed building after taking its possession from the housing society by August 5. It had asked the Registrar General of the Bombay High Court to ensure that either he or other Registrar, nominated by him, supervises the handing over of the possession of the building.
Simultaneously, it directed that an inventory of documents of the Housing Society pertaining to the apartments be prepared and be handed over to the housing society to enable him to pursue its legal battles in various courts of law. Earlier, the High Court had ordered demolition of the apartments and had sought initiation of criminal proceedings against politicians and bureaucrats for “misuse” of powers, holding that the tower was illegally constructed.
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The High Court, while ordering demolition, had stayed the operation of its order to pull down the building close to the sea at Colaba for 12 weeks to enable the Housing Society to move the apex court with the appeal.
In its order, the HC bench had asked the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest to carry out the demolition at the expense of petitioners (Adarsh Society). It had also asked the Centre and Maharashtra Government to consider initiating civil and criminal proceedings against bureaucrats, ministers and politicians for misuse and abuse of power to get plots under the scheme, originally meant for Kargil war heroes and war widows.
The Adarsh scam kicked up a huge political storm after it surfaced in 2010, leading to the resignation of the then Congress Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.