National Herald case: Inquiry report to be submitted by February 14

Mumbai: A one-man committee headed by former bureaucrat Gautam Chatterjee will submit by February 14 its inquiry report on the alleged irregularities in transfer of land to Associated Journal Limited (AJL), which used to publish the now-defunct National Herald newspaper.

Doubts were raised over the panel’s functioning as Mr Chatterjee retired from the post of Maharashtra Additional Chief Secretary on January 31 this year.

State government has, however, asked him to conclude the inquiry even after his retirement. Herald case: Inquiry report by Feb 14 “I will submit the inquiry report to the government by February 14,” said Mr Chatterjee. Associated Journals Limited is the company that owns National Herald.

AJL is currently constructing a commercial building at the piece of land at a crucial spot close to Western Express Highway, which is alleged to be in violation of rules as the land was allotted for construction of Nehru Memorial Library. Maharashtra Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshatriya said normally an inquiry can continue even after the retirement of an official. “I have not yet looked into it.

Normally, even if an official retires he can conduct the inquiry till it is over,” said Mr Kshatriya when asked about Mr Chatterjee’s report. Right To Information (RTI) activist Anil Galgali, who has been following the issue, alleged that the state government has adopted delaying tactics in this case to dilute its intensity.

“The construction on the land is still on. The government has made no attempt to stop that. It shows that it is not serious on the issue,” Mr Galgali said.