Adarsh scam: CBI searches premises of former BMC Commissioner

Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday carried out searches at the premises of senior IAS officer and former Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Jairaj Phatak in three different cities in connection with the Adarsh Housing Scam.

The CBI teams swooped on his premises in the national capital and in Mumbai and Pune early on Tuesday morning, a day after getting sanction from the Centre to prosecute Mr. Phatak, a 1978 batch IAS officer.

The agency had registered an FIR in the scam on January 29. Mr. Phatak, a former commissioner of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, was named in the list of people awaiting sanction for prosecution as he was a joint secretary rank officer for which the agency needs to take permission from the Centre.

Mr. Phatak’s son Kanishka is among the 103 members who owned an apartment in Adarsh Society in Mumbai’s upmarket Colaba area.

“We got the sanction to prosecute him on Monday following which searches were conducted this morning at Pathak’s residences in Mumbai, Pune and his official residence in Delhi,” a senior CBI official said.

The CBI in its FIR said that he, during his tenure as BMC commissioner, had approved the height of the building to be increased from 97 metres to 107 metres on September one, 2007.

He was the head of the committee looking after high rise buildings in the megapolis and the agency alleged that he had not referred the height increase to other committee members.

Apart from Mr. Pathak, the FIR includes former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, retired army officials and bureaucrats, all of who have been charged with conspiracy and misuse of official powers.

The plush housing society, built on prime defence land, had been constructed in alleged violation of rules. The building was originally meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil war heroes and their kin but was later extended to 31 floors without mandatory permission.