Hand over Adarsh flats to Kargil war widows

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ahujaAdarsh literally means ideal, but there is nothing ideal about the controversial Adarsh Society in Mumbai, the high rise building which is facing an imminent demolition.

However, the question that needs to be debated is; Will the razing of Adarsh, infamously known as the tower of corruption help? Why not take exemplary action against those who were behind this multi-crore scam and allot these flats to widows of Kargil victims? Why not a strong message that sends a chill down the spine of every corrupt politician, bureaucrat or anyone who thought that law can be twisted and he or she could get away after cornering flats meant for war widows particularly widows of Kargil victims?

The CBI list of Adarsh beneficiaries includes the then Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan’s relatives who owned three flats. Details obtained through an RTI revealed that Chavan approved the sale of 40 percent of the houses to civilians.

When the case came up before the Bombay High Court, a shocked Bench called it “a clear-cut manipulation by the Collectorate, the Revenue Ministry and the Urban Development Ministry,” pointing out that “everyone who cleared the file was gifted 
with a flat.”

During probe, the CBI arrested Pradeep Vyas, Secretary (Expenditure) of the Finance Department of the Maharashtra government, making him the first serving bureaucrat to be arrested. Twelve bureaucrats and former chief minister, Ashok Chavan were named in the first CBI charge sheet. Nine of them, Jairaj Moreshwar Phatak, Ramanand Tiwari, TK Kaul, AR Kumar, MM Wanchoo, Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, JK Jagiasi and Mandar Goswami have so far been arrested.

The list included Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, NCP leader Jitendra Avhad, former Congress MLC Kanhaiyalal Gidwani and his two sons, Congress leader Babasaheb Kupekar,BJP leader Ajay Sancheti, RC Thakur and Jayant Shah. The list also included the Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade. Children of officers who owned flats included Jairaj Phatak, chairperson of the Rural Electrification ­Corporation; and Ramanand Tiwari, former ­secretary, Urban Development.

The Adarsh scam is a perfect example of scant respect our decision-makers have for our soldiers who lay down their lives for the motherland. Adarsh Housing scam also points to a deeper malady because of the roll call of people in high offices who collude to deny even a small benefit to Kargil war widows. Public trust in those holding public offices is abysmally low and there is a need to ensure that law-breakers are not allowed to escape and flats are restored to Kargil war widows.

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