As a damage control exercise ahead of next years Lok Sabha and Assembly elections,the Maharashtra government led by Prithviraj Chavan is likely to constitute a task force to prepare another Action Taken Report (ATR) on the Adarsh Commission report,which was earlier rejected by the government after it was tabled in the state legislature.
Sources in the Chief Ministers Office (CMO) said: There are just two options before the government. It will either have to bring a fresh proposal on Adarsh report for discussion or take a decision to set up a task force headed by chief secretary to prepare another Action Taken Report or involve Group of Ministers to come out with an ATR.
The chief minister has decided to exercise caution in taking the next step and made adequate consultations with his deputy and NCP leader Ajit Pawar.
Highly placed sources in the government told The Indian Express that the Adarsh commission report does not make any recommendations on action to be taken against the politicians or bureaucrats accused of wrongdoing in the multi-storeyed housing project in Colaba. To the contrary,they said,the judicial panel report has referred to the ongoing investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the bureaucrats who allegedly violated rules and were the beneficiaries of the quid pro quo in the project. The commission has also not suggested any action against the ministers found guilty of political patronage.
The report stated: We think it necessary to point out that CBI had registered FIR against 14 accused on 29.1.2011 and after completing the investigation it has filed a chargesheet against those accused in the court of special judge,Mumbai in July 2012 alleging commission of offences under sections 120-B and 420 of the IPC and section 13(1)(d) read section 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988. It further noted: The special court is already seized of this issue and it would not be proper on the part of this commission to make any expression in provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act that have already been placed into service against the concerned public servants involved in the Adarsh matter.
A senior Congress minister in the Chavan cabinet said,The Adarsh report just makes observations and leaves it to the CBI and Bombay High Court to deal with the action against corrupt bureaucrats and politicians. The cabinet will have to consult legal experts to deal with the undefined parameters in the report.
Meanwhile,a section of Congress leaders demanded action in the case. State Congress chief Manikrao Thakre reiterated that party president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi have suggested to re-look the Adarsh Commission report. Union Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology Milind Deora,who had earlier urged the state government not to hush up the matter,today said the Adarsh report should be discussed in the Assembly a demand put forth by the BJP. Public has the right to know the facts. It is nothing to do with politics. Nor aimed at attacking any individual or party, Deora said.