Mumbai: A blame game involving two former Maharashtra Chief Ministers erupted over Adarsh housing scam on Monday with Ashok Chavan saying the prime land was sanctioned by Vilasrao Deshmukh, now Union Minister, and he had no role to play.
In an affidavit before the Commission probing alleged irregularities in the controversial Adarsh Housing project, Chavan also said that he was not involved with any recommendation to include civilian members in the building meant for armed forces personnel in upscale Colaba area.

Chavan, who had to step down as Chief Minister last year following Adarsh controversy, was the Revenue Minister from 1999-2003 when land was allotted to the Housing Society.

Without naming Deshmukh, Chavan said that for allotment of plot for value exceeding Rs 25 lakh and plots situated in Pune, Mumbai and suburbs, the decision for allotment is of the Chief Minister.

Deshmukh, who filed an affidavit before Adarsh Commission on June 17, had put the onus on the Revenue department and the Mumbai Collector saying that while allotting land to Adarsh Society he had acted on the proposal sent by them.

Countering the allegations, Chavan in his eight-page affidavit said, "There was no question of my suggestion that civilian members be included in the Society and any suggestion that this was discussed with me or that I had suggested or directed or decided on the same is false and denied."

Reacting to Chavan's affidavit, Deshmukh said," Now the judicial commission will decide who was right and who was wrong and other things. Everybody has the liberty to put forward his view."

Deshmukh had earlier alleged Chavan as the then Revenue Minister and asked the housing society to change the bye-laws to include civilians in it.

Referring to the meeting with his department when he was the Revenue Minister, Chavan said, "In the meeting I have asked the department only to look into the issue relating to the allotment of the land and call for the required information in the respect thereof. No decision was taken at the meeting".

Chavan has been named among the 14 accused by CBI in its probe into the scam. He is accused of recommending 40 per cent allotment of flats in Adarsh Society, originally meant for Kargil war widows, to civilians. Chavan is also facing allegations that his relatives got flats in the society.

Chavan said that when he was the Revenue Minister, the file on verification of Adarsh Society falling in CRZ, eligibility of members and value of land, was placed before him in July 2002.

"At that stage the matter relating to allotment of land was still only at the stage of verification of the proposal and there was no question of the Revenue department having taken any decision on allotment of land," the affidavit filed by Chavan said.

"This decision for allotment of land took place more than 16 months after I ceased to be the Revenue Minister. In view of this, I have no personal knowledge of any matter regarding the actual verification/approval of members by the department or matters related to allotment of the land to the Society," he said.
Chavan further said that when he was the Revenue Minister, his actions were only to seek compliance of the Government Resolution (GR) of July 1999 for allotment of lands belonging to Maharashtra.

"Matters relating to the eligibility of membership of the (Adarsh) Society, reservation of the land or membership of the society for defence personnel were all matters which were governed by the GR," he added.