Bureaucrats, ministers acted dishonestly: HC in Adarsh scam ruling

New Delhi: The Bombay High Court, while ordering demolition of the multi-storeyed Adarsh Housing Society here, has squarely blamed its members for conspiring with politicians and bureaucrats to grab a plot “which was not in existence” in the development plan as a residential area. It was “carved out” by eating into a road, it said.

Members of the Society happened to be close relatives of highly-placed bureaucrats and or related to politicians or ministers, said a division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Rajesh Ketkar in the 223 page-judgement which became available today.

On April 29, delivering the operating part, the HC had sought criminal proceedings against politicians and bureaucrats for “misuse” of powers, holding that the Society, originally meant for Kargil war heroes and war widows, was constructed illegally. “We are more than satisfied that the allotment was not made in a transparent manner and it clearly smacks of favouritism and/or nepotism,” the judgement said.

“It cannot be disputed that bureaucrats and ministers are the custodians of government property….People repose confidence in them that the government property is safe in the hands of bureaucrats and ministers.

“Prima facie, they have dishonestly disposed of the property in violation of law,” the bench observed. “…the bureaucrats and the ministers are guilty of various offences in acquiring the plot as also misuse and/or abuse of powers. We hereby direct the state government to consider initiating appropriate civil/criminal proceedings against the concerned bureaucrats, ministers and politicians,” the judges further said.

The lower courts will, however, decide the cases as per the merit and evidence, uninfluenced by HC’s observations, it added.