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Missing Adarsh papers: Yet another case for CBI

Last updated on: February 17, 2011 18:22 IST

Missing Adarsh papers: Yet another case for CBI

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The Bombay high court on Wednesday transferred from the Mumbai Police to Central Bureau of Investigation the investigation into the missing documents relating to crucial clearances in the Adarsh housing society scam.

The order was passed by a bench headed by Justice B H Marlapalle, which directed the CBI to submit a progress report within three weeks.

The investigations were being conducted by the Crime Branch of the Mumbai Police after the Marine Drive police registered a case on November 26 last year.

The bench, however, clarified that its order does not in any way reflect on the manner in which the Crime Branch carried its probe.

The court was hearing petitions filed by Mahendra Singh and others seeking a CBI probe into the Adarsh Housing Society scam.

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Observing that a retired driver or a conductor from a remote place in Maharashtra cannot afford to buy a flat in south Mumbai and properties in their names could be benami, the bench also asked CBI to amend the FIR to include The Benami Transactions (probitition) Act, 1988. The act prohibits enforcement of any right by the real owner to recover a property held benami.

In another development, a separate bench of the court sought a response from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest by March 8 to a petition filed by the members of the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society challenging the notice for demolition of the 31-storey building.

Hearing the petition filed by members of Adarsh challenging the January 16 order, Justice D K Deshmukh asked the MoEF to file its reply by March 8.

The petitioners had moved the court on February 14 after the Ministry ordered pulling down the building, which it held was built in violation of the spirit of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) laws.



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In the case of missing documents, Himanshu Roy, Joint Commissioner of Police, filed an affidavit giving details of the probe conducted by the Crime Branch along with a list of suspects working in the state secretariat.

The file that contained the missing documents originated in Urban Development Department in 1999 and was closed in 2003. It was reported missing on October 28, 2010, and reappeared there after four days.

Roy said in the affidavit that photocopy of documents made available to the Crime Branch prima facie revealed that the entire noting portion and four pages of correspondence related to road widening and CRZ clearance had gone missing or were stolen.



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He said the Crime Branch interrogated 66 persons/witnesses from the secretariat and other places and recorded 40 statements of people including present and past Mantralaya staff. The police peronnel manning the gates and PWD staff responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of buildings were also questioned.

Besides, the cell phone records of the secretariat staff were scrutinised.

The access control staff of the secretariat was also interrogated about the movements of officials on October 31, a holiday, Roy said, adding efforts made to retrieve the CCTV footage failed as records get automatically deleted after some time.

The affidavit named Vidya Dabholkar, a clerk, as one of the suspects because she was the custodian of the missing file and had prepared an inventory of available files during 2008 to 2009, which did not include the Adarsh file.



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The affidavit said the cupboard keys are with Gurudutt Vajpe and Dabholkar. The last custodian of the file before Dabholkar, clerk Ravindra Naik, is another suspect.

The last movement of the file was at the office of the Principal Secretary, Urban Development, and was made by clerk Waman Raul on November 2, 2005. The date is also overwritten as January 2, 2006. The last available entry was made by Raul on these dates and he is also one of the suspects, Roy said.

Roy said Vajpe and Dabholkar would have to explain how the missing file reappeared in the same cupboard whose keys were only in their possession. These officers, along with Prashant Pathak, employed privately to work as peon by Vajpe, were suspects.

Roy told the court that since the suspects did not reveal anything despite sustained interrogation, the Crime Branch had proposed to conduct narco analysis, brain mapping and polygraph tests on them and their consent had been taken.

He said though the Crime Branch had sought permission of the concerned court for all the three tests, it did not consider the plea for narco analysis. The court will now consider the plea for brain mapping and polygraph.



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