Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Tuesday appeared to be laying the blame for Adarsh scam at former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan's door when he told the judicial panel probing it that the land was allotted to the society after a go-ahead from the revenue department.
During Deshmukh's first stint as CM, Ashok Chavan was the revenue minister when the land was allotted to the controversial housing society in upscale Colaba.
"Once a file seeking allotment of government land is submitted to the Chief Minister's office, the principal secretary to the CM sees if the proposal has been approved by the revenue minister. If the file is positive and there is no difference of opinion between the revenue minister and other officers then the secretary briefs the CM and approval is given," Deshmukh said in his deposition before the panel as a witness.
Deshmukh, Union Minister of Science and Technology, pleaded ignorance to several questions asked during his deposition and said he was not informed by the revenue department that the land where the building stands was in possession of the Local Military Authority and a garden existed on the plot.
Deshmukh, during his tenure as Maharashtra Chief Minister from October 1999 to January 2003 and from November 2004 to December 2008, had issued Letter of Intent (LOI) in favour of allotting government land to Adarsh society and issued a notification directing reduction of the width of Capt Prakash Pethe Marg outside the plush building in south Mumbai.
The Minister said he was not informed by the secretary of Urban Development (UD) department that objection was raised over the notification dated April 10, 2002, reducing the width of Capt Pethe Marg.
"I was not made aware that MSRDC had raised an objection to the notification. The UD secretary also did not bring to my notice the fact that the society claimed to have been in possession of the land in question in February 2001 itself," he said.
One of the promoters of the society, Kanhaiya Lal Gidwani, a Congress MLC had claimed in a letter to Deshmukh that the society was in possession of the land in 2001.